Great investments have been made towards development of improved sweetpotato varieties. This has borne fruit with release of a significant number of improved white-fleshed, orange-fleshed and more recently purple-fleshed varieties. However, traditional varieties still dominate the smallholder farm systems despite the declining yields. Changing this requires that diverse user-preferences are incorporated in the early phases of breeding to ensure that newly developed varieties are suitable to local conditions and at the same time respond to market requirements.
It is therefore important for breeders to understand key traits preferred by different end-users. At the same time seed system experts must understand how to sustainably disseminate the improved varieties. This requires innovative approaches where all the value chain actors are well connected and better trust with good governance set up and respond to each other. Building sustainable linkages depends on the understanding of push and pull factors across the value chain.
The major difference between supply-push and demand-pull strategy in the value chain is the role of the customer/or end-user. The push strategy focuses on taking the product directly to the customer by ensuring customers are aware about the product and know that it comes from recognized sources (i.e., labeling, source of seed, fake seed identification, trade show, direct selling points, modern packing materials, sales point display, etc.). Whereas, the pull strategy involves motivating customers to buy the product (i.e., distributing free sample seed, discount prices, additional services if customers buy the product such as free access to extension and credit services, door delivery if they order in advance through digital platform etc.). In this discussion, members of the SweetGAINS SpeedBreed and Seed Systems Community of practice sought to find:
- Examples of supply-push and demand-pull factors that can lead to greater connectivity within the seed supply chain and how to harness them
- Ways of using key traits in developing push/pull strategies for greater varietal turnover