Village Seed Entrepreneurs
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The Village Seed Entrepreneurs (VSE) component establishes and empowers a network of geographically distributed, community-based VSEs who produce and sell certified stems of market-preferred improved cassava varieties. Led by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the component will establish more than 80 VSEs across 18 of the Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Benue state.
Further south, the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) is establishing and supporting a network of 50 VSEs in Abia, Imo, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states. The Institute is using similar tools and approaches as CRS in Benue, but works in a far less intensive manner to demonstrate a low touch model. This network of VSEs, once established, will efficiently service the country’s southern and eastern states.
BASICS aims to carefully select grassroot entrepreneurial seed producers in the project target areas as VSEs and train them on improved agronomic and business management practices of cassava production, so that they can establish and manage their own small seed business. These VSEs are linked to National Agricultural Seed Council (NASC) so all their seed production plots are duly certified so the buying farmers are assured of the quality.
Apart from building their capacities, CRS and NRCRI support the VSEs by facilitating the availability of certified foundation seed to meet their planting material needs and by creating demand for their produce through strategic communication and marketing campaigns. A number of strategically located demonstration plots are set up to showcase the benefit for using certified seeds for planting.