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Increased production of agricultural crops depends not only on the development of higher yielding varieties of seeds but also on the efficiency of the systems available to ensure that these seeds reach the farmer on time. Effective seed marketing is thus an essential component of activities to improve food security.

In recent years there have been moves, albeit fairly hesitant, away from government-run seed marketing organizations towards increased participation by the private sector. This publication is therefore addressed primarily to the private sector, both to existing companies and to new companies being set up to take over seed marketing activities from the public sector. However, it is likely to be just as useful for government owned seed organizations seeking to improve the efficiency of their operations.

The publication is written from the standpoint of a medium to large seed marketing company with national or regional coverage. While smaller companies will clearly not have the financial or staff resources to implement many of the recommendations, they should still find much in the comprehensive coverage to be of interest and use.

The entire range of seed marketing activities is addressed. Methodologies for researching the market are reviewed and approaches to forecasting demand, both commercial demand at the level of the individual company end total national demand, are considered. Ways of best organizing a company's product range to supply demand are then discussed, followed by a review of approaches to seed pricing. The publication then considers seed distribution management, and this is followed by a chapter which reviews techniques of promotion, advertising, extension and demonstration. All of these activities must be planned. A final chapter discusses how best to do this.

This publication has been prepared by Mr. G. Mumby. Technical and editorial advice has been provided by Messrs. D. Boettcher, K. Chopra, B. de Woronin, T. Ekin, L. Ho, M. Lemonius, A. Shepherd and J. Silva. Illustrations have been provided by the author, Mr. B. Curzi, Mahendra Hybrid Seeds Ltd. the Seed Co-op of Zimbabwe, PBI Cambridge (UK), Evergrow Seed Co. Ltd. Pacific Seeds, Pioneer Seeds, Century Seeds Pvt. Ltd and the FAO Photo Library.

H. de Haen
Assistant Director-General
Agriculture Department

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