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Sustainable Sweetpotato Early Generation Seed: a conceptual framework to assess technical, financial and institutional innovations

In many sub-Saharan African countries, public sector institutions have been mandated to generate income from their research activities. National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) and private sector players in 11 countries launched business plans for early generation sweetpotato seed production in 2015-2016. The business plans include: cost structure and financial analyses to determine potential profitability; technical innovations; and marketing strategies. Technical innovations have increased multiplication rates and reduced production costs of early generation seed. Institutional innovations include stakeholder meetings to improve coordination, across the seed system. Financial innovations include establishment of revolving funds whereby income from sale of seed is used to fund future production. Thus, the successful implementation of the business plans relies both on interactions between socio-technical components, and institutional changes in the seed system. New methods are required to assess these interactions.