Seed firms accused of neglecting female farmers

Global seed companies are failing to meet the specific needs of female farmers and provide them with the plants they need, according to a study launched today.

The Access to seeds index report 2016 found that seed firms focus their research efforts on major cash crops, such as maize and rice. But they rarely strive to develop better varieties of seeds that are important to female farmers in developing countries, such as sweet potato or peanuts, the report says. This means that female farmers benefit less from advances in seed breeding and agricultural science than male farmers, the report’s authors warn. The report found that only three of the 17 global seed companies it studied have programmes that explicitly seek to take into account “women farmers’ input”.

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