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Understanding Needs

Understanding clients’ needs enable breeders to;

  1. Define clients and stakeholders

  2. Understand the various categories of clients and their activities in value chains, including seed distributors, farmers, processors, traders, retailers, marketers, and consumers;

  3. Identify market segments and their importance in determining the number of new varieties required; and

  4. Understand different types and methods of market research and best practices to obtain from clients and stakeholders the information required to design new, “fit-for-purpose” varieties.

How does Understanding clients’ needs add value to current breeding practices?

  • Client focus: Breeding goals and objectives are set based on what clients want and need without bias towards either what technology can offer or a specific focus on individual trait improvement.

  • Value chains: Greater understanding is required about the structure of crop value chains and the buying and selling factors of different clients and their relative priority when setting a new variety of designs.

  • Dual-purpose varieties: A new variety not only supports farmers’ requirements for crop productivity and home consumption but also ensures that surplus crop production can enter markets with cash returns to all the value chain participants.

  • Market research: The stronger emphasis is given to gathering unbiased, reliable, independent information on clients’ needs and preferences.

  • Market and business knowledge: Breeders require greater knowledge about crop uses, markets, and the “business/economics” of breeding.  


Clients within value chains

  • Understanding clients is central to demand-led variety design, release, and adoption. It is essential to be clear on who the clients are and what affects their buying decisions.

  • Value chains: Breeders need to understand value chains and the relative importance of different clients in the chain and their requirements within each new variety design.

  • Different clients in value chains have different requirements and all requirements cannot always be satisfied with the same variety, especially when there are specialist properties required for processing.  Breeders should have regular contact with clients in all parts of the value chain and involve them in new variety design

  • Client location and scale: The geographic location of clients is important and whether the benefits and value of new varieties are also applicable for potential clients across national borders. Analysis of agro-ecological zones should be given particular attention. The more clients that can benefit from each new variety, especially when it can have a multi-country impact, the better the investment case for a breeding program.

  • Seed system development: For seed system development and improved seeds to reach farmers, especially in remote locations, distributors require portfolios of “fit-for-purpose” varieties. Portfolios of new varieties are also required for market creation, growth and business sustainability.

  • Public and private sector roles in seed supply: Public sector breeding programs are the initial source of new varieties to serve clients and value chains, for food security crops, which are currently not commercial (export) crops. In the longer term, developing the local private sector seed business is a more sustainable strategy for both food security crops and commercial (export) crops. 

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