Some Straight Talk from Feed the Future’s Andrew McKim

In an enormously candid and hard-hitting interview in yesterday’s Sunrise, Feed the Future’s Uganda coordinator Andrew McKim let it rip with regard to Uganda’s failing agricultural policy framework:

McKim blamed the Ugandan government’s failure to crack down on counterfeit seed as a major roadblock that frustrates farmers as well as seed companies from investing in the sector.

“Seeds is one of the most important concerns for farmers.”McKim adds: “But counterfeit seed are widespread and it’s heart-breaking for a farmer to prepare his land and invest in [counterfeit] seed. Seeds are high priority for farmers and the private sector.”

Experts argue that improved seeds are a major factor influencing total agricultural output. In Uganda however, according to McKim, only 6% of farmers use improved seeds, something that ensures farmers get limited output.

A year ago, when I started writing about Seed Counterfeiting in Uganda, it was a fringe-of-the-fringe topic. Now, high ranking USAID officials are putting it at the center of their message to the Ugandan government. This is enormously encouraging from my point of view. His little rant made me happier than anything about seed ought to!

2 thoughts on “Some Straight Talk from Feed the Future’s Andrew McKim”

  1. More than that, I’ve seen, in the last 2 months, a World Bank commissioning of a study on the extent and impact of fake seed – in Kenya. So I think that the issue has garnered attention.

    Mind you, the call I saw (which I didn’t pursue) seemed quite descriptive – describe where faking happens in value chain, how, why, estimate cost, suggest remedies. and I know Francisco would be among the first to say that the issue needs more than a technocratic framing, as it reflects politics and governance. But then, that’s not how the World Bank rolls… Will be interesting to see how FTF, who do tend to get more stuck into governance, frame this!

    1. Methinks, yon FT, depressed blogger due to lack of interest, is more influential than he thinks. He needs to keep pumping out these posts and rehashing the old ones with links. Professor P. Krugman does it all the time, as I have said before, link, etc., etc., these people know nothing or just can’t tell the truth; sort of how he does it, often. Me also thinks that the World Bank have a time problem in posting up comments on their site; sort of months after making the comments. It is probably the same with taking on blog posts for investigation. It probably goes through 16 committees before final approval, 2 years later, for action. I mean how does the WB work: slowly, at best.
      Was in Western Kenya last year and had occasion to buy some seed corn. Took advice and went to the shop in the local market and there it was Kenseed, Pioneer, Panaar and Seedco; all of it in standard packages. It was the real thing too as was obvious when it cobbed up. The man I took advice from about where to purchase said the shop owner was totally reliable and had been selling proper seed and fertiliser for years. Totally rural place btw not some townie shop or market.
      But why is there a market for such fake seed. Meaning why will folks buy it rather than go to a reputable dealer. Is it like asking why is East Africa full of markets in things that have fallen of the back of a lorry.

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