Developing production systems and invasive diseases are putting pressure on cassava, a major crop with over 3 million hectares planted annually in Southeast Asia. Despite the tremendous importance of the crop to local smallholders and global value chains alike, no research has been published on the seed systems supporting the sector. The Greater Mekong Subregion, including Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, forms a bloc in mainland Southeast Asia with shared borders and integrated economies. To respond to mounting challenges in the sector, knowledge of the structure and functioning of cassava seed systems is urgently needed.
We investigate the structure and functioning of cassava seed systems from several perspectives, including supply and demand in existing formal and informal systems, the evolving regional legal context, and ongoing attempts to develop sustainable improved systems. This multi-faceted approach includes the first ever study on cassava seed exchange habits in Southeast Asia through a network analysis, the use of experimental auction approaches to determine willingness to pay for improved seed characteristics, a comparative analysis of the development of seed laws in the countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion, and a close look at emerging formal seed production initiatives in three countries.
This research contributed to a major RTB-CGIAR research initiative on Root, tuber, and banana seed systems.