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Seeds of progress

In a male-dominated sector, women leading maize seed companies in eastern and southern Africa share their experiences.


The maize seed sector in east and southern Africa is male-dominated. However, there are women working in this sector who are breaking social barriers and helping to improve household food security, nutrition and livelihoods by providing jobs and improved seed varieties to farmers.

Researchers from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) conducted interviews with women owners of seed companies in eastern and southern Africa. They shared information on their background, their motivation to start their businesses, what sets their companies apart from the competition, the innovative approaches they use to ensure smallholder farmers adopt improved seed varieties, the unique challenges they face as women in the seed sector and the potential for growth of their companies.