Rutger Persson

Services in the SDC Markets and Seeds Access Project (MASAP) in Zambia and Zimbabwe during Inception phase July -November 2021

The overall goal of the MASAP project is to improve resilience in food security of smallholder households (especially women and youth) by increasing adoption and utilisation of improved open and self-pollinated varieties of small grains (sorghum and millets) and legumes (cowpeas and groundnuts). This will be made possible through strengthening the seed and commodity value chains in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The project’s broad three outcomes include:

(1) sustainable community owned enterprises and associations provide services that lead to smallholder farmers – in particular women and youth – having higher and diversified incomes resulting from adoption, utilisation and sales of small grain and legume seeds and commodities;

(2) sustainable and predictable availability of Early Generation Seeds (EGS), access to affordable quality seeds of small grain and legume and related services by smallholder farmers through increased engagement of the private sector;

(3) national agricultural and food security policies, as well as private sector plans, supportive of small grains and legumes sectors’ needs and interests, and that are gender and youth responsive, are developed and implemented.

The main purpose of the MASAP inception phase, between 20th July-30th November 2021, is to develop a credible and feasible ProDoc that clearly defines the project objectives and targets and how the project will be implemented to reach these. The MASAP Core Team members will contribute to the development of a comprehensive document that establishes the basis for SDC´s invest and it is from the data in the ProDoc logframe that the MASAP achievements will be measured.

The tender for implementing the SDC funded Markets and Seed Access Project (MASAP) was awarded to NIRAS A/S in Denmark. Their sub-contractors are Community Technology Development Organisation (based in Zimbabwe) and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) based in Switzerland. Svalöf Consulting is contracted by NIRAS A/S as sub-consultant for the services of the Project Manager.

Consulting Services for Strengthening the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) capacity to implement project activities in Africa

AFC has been contracted by GCDT for the project ” Consulting Services for Strengthening the Global Crop Diversity Trust capacity to implement project activities in Africa” (Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia). Svalöf Consulting as sub-contractor of AFC provides the Team Leader (Rutger Persson) for the Project, during 3 years (November 2020-October 2023).

The Capitalisation of the Endowment Fund of the GCDT and Strengthening of National Genebanks project aims to empower national seed collections by safeguarding them in perpetuity through through the endowment fund, documenting and managing them appropriately for conservation and use, promoting their use, as a basis for climate adaption of vulnerable African cropping systems. The project is supported by the Federal Republic of Germany through KfW.

The project consist of three outputs:

  1. Essential operations of national seed collections in 5 African countries safeguarded in perpetuity through an endowment fund.
  2. National seed collections are managed and documented appropriately for conservation and use
  3. Use of national seed collections for increasing the diversity of varietal options with which farmers can respond to climate change.


Mid-Term Evaluation of the WB Agriculture Commercialization Project (ACP) in Tajikistan

The objective of the mid-term project review was to take stock of the project progress at midpoint of its implementation and evaluate progress achieved. The Project has taken upon itself a challenging task of addressing some the most important demand and supply side constraints, with some notable progress acheived to date. The Project has developed a comprehensive approach to determine, support and invest in value chains. Engagement of NIRAS that invest time and effort to think about the content, delivery approaches rooted in building local capacity, transferring knowledge and being close to beneficiaries is rather refreshing. This approach seems to have posetively impacted farmers and ACP´s ultimate objective of improving both the commercialisation and knowledge base of small-scale farmers who are in the greatest need for support. Four value chains have already been selected (apricot, milk, apple and lemon) and another two are currently under review, having already covered over 6 000 beneficiaries across three provinces and formalized skill development in the form of designing and delivering Farmer Field School (FFS) that has already provided nearly 30 000 hours of training and advisory services to beneficiaries through national and regional service providers.Overall, training delivery and monitoring is now being implemented at a very high-quality level and should be a point of pride for the Project. Staff of NIRAS (Team Leader and the technical assistance team) are now integral and de-facto part of the PMU (Project Management Unit), allowing for efficient day to day coordination of the activities and troubleshooting.”

Value Chain Development and Training/ Advisory Service Provider to TACP in Tajikistan

NIRAS Indevelop has been contracted to provide Technical Assistance to the Tajik Agriculture Commercialization Project (TACP) which is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through the PMU and funded by the World Bank. The objective of the TA is to contribute to Value Chain/ Productive Partnership Development through and advise of relevant stakeholder in selected value chains. The specific tasks for the TA support are to 1. Provide Support to identification and development of Value Chain Development Activities; 2. Capacity Building through Training and Advisory Services; and 3. Support to the development of the commercial grant program. Svalöf Consulting has been subcontracted, making Rutger Persson available in carrying out the services as Team Leader and Expert on Value Chain Development.  The service will be delivered between October 2016 and December 2020.

Business Development services to 54 Private Seed Companies in 11 African countries


Rutger Persson has been engaged by AGRA during 18 months ( 1st September  2015- 28th February 2017) as Business Development consultant, in developing the ability of 54 African seed companies to manage their business growth and provide improved seeds to small-scale farmers, in eleven African countries, on a sustainable basis.

Methodology to be deployed would be a combination of personal meetings with the management teams of the beneficiary companies and supplemented with online interactions on a regular basis with the nominated members of the beneficiary companies.

Personal meetings with the beneficiary companies under this assignment would be in two phases

  1. Introductory & exploratory with all the companies in the first 22 calendar weeks with a view to establish channels of communications
  2. Mentoring and guiding management teams in implementing the proposed improvement plans over rest of the assignment period of about one year.

Under the phase I of interactions, round of meetings with all the companies will focus on understanding and identifying needs, drawing suitable plans for each company in the areas of

a) Strategy and operational matters of the companies, constraints and opportunities as seen by the Management team,

b) Management processes of planning & review, policy formulation, risks management and market response capabilities,

c) Organisation structure, clarity of JDs, performance management system- goal setting, identify training needs of professionals,

d) Supply chain management- quality control measures for achieving consistent standards, inventory management, machinery & equipment and facilities, information systems for effective monitoring of progress,

e) Market planning capabilities, review spread & strengths of product portfolio, Brand building plans,

f) R&D plans, maintenance and multiplication plans for commercial & pre-commercial products, g) Financial accounting system, MIS, cash flow planning including capital expenses,

g) Application of the 52 tools in the “African Seed Company Toolbox

Recommended interventions for the common problems would be developed and presented to the management of AGRA for further implantation which would be supported during the phase II of this assignment, for one year.

Monitor in the Seed Sector Development for South Sudan program

Svalöf Consulting has signed an agreement with the Royal Embassy of the Netherlands in Juba, to monitor the Seed Sector Development for South Sudan (SSD4SS) program, implemented by AGRA. The external monitoring will periodically appraise the progress and developments of the Dutch funded program and contribute to the overall objective , providing a second opinion on the progress made. The first mission was conducted between 8-17th June 2015, assessed and advised on:

AGRA´s capability to establish working methods that are flexible and adaptable to the evolving context, based on AGRA´s ability and willingness to carry out methodological revisions from time to time and the development of robust mechanisms to measure performance

Review AGRA´s work in the broader sectorial context and assess to what extent AGRA´s approach and performance results in AGRA assuming a lead role regarding the introduction and increase of locally grown quality seeds, also at farmer´s level, in South Sudan.

Assess the expected output, outcome and impact of the program

Specifically SSD4SS aims to:

  • Create increased capacity for research, seed testing and release and certification through short and long term training of crop and seed technical specialists
  • Facilitate the strengthening elements within Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development (MAFCRD) related to crop improvement research, seed testing for release to private sector and certification activities, as well as improvement of seed testing laboratory infrastructure
  • To create an emerging private commercial seed sector through the multiplication of quality seeds and dissemination of these seeds of the new, improved crop varieties;
  • To organize, train and support farmer groups to enable them to produce seed as outgrows for seed companies and for local distribution;
  • To create awareness of the developed crop varieties among farmers and other stakeholders through awareness-raising activities including on-farm demonstration plots and as a result the adoption of quality seeds by farmers.

Second mission to Ethiopia in the ISSD program, 9-20th April 2015

In agreement with the Centre of Development Innovation at Wageningen, Rutger Persson conducted his second mission to Ethiopia in the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) program, 9-20th April 2015, with the following agenda:

  • The website of the Ethiopian Seed Association
  • Training material/ guides in business management, seed marketing, seed production, post harvest handling, warehouse management, seed quality control
  • Seed Code of Practice
  • Strengths, Weaknesses and Actions reported by Evaluation Team
  • Preparations for a one day awareness creating workshop for agricultural input suppliers, vegetable seed importers and CGIAR centres (to be conducted by ESA)
  • ESA´s News Letter


Assisted the Ethiopian Seed Association in finalizing the design and content of their new website, which was launched on

The final stage of editing the Business Plan template, prior to printing and dissemination among ESA´s members, as a practical and useful working tool in planning and optimizing the company earnings.

Worked on the specific task in developing a Seed Code of Practice for the seed sector, in order to safeguard the seed quality, creating confidence among the Ethiopian small-scale farmers in certified seed of improved varieties.

Assisted ESA in planning for another workshop in create awareness among input suppliers, vegetable seed importers and CGIAR centres working in Ethiopia, to become members of the Association, attracting them to advertise on the ESA website and work closer with their members who are engaged in producing and marketing seed.

The observations by the ISSD evaluation team were taken into consideration in the discussions with ESA, how to further improve the Associations mandate by:

  • Focusing on development of services before further actions to attract more members
  • Financial sustainability is less important than service development (in the short term perspective)
  • Identify relevant business linkage between company and Local Seed Business and facilitate that linkage.


National Workshop of ISSD Ethiopia; ESA Strategy Plan; training in business management, marketing, quality control and warehouse management in 2015

Rendered the following services as Private Seed Sector Consultant in the Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) Program in Ethiopia:

Facilitated during the National Workshop of ISSD program in Hawassa, SNNPR, 26-30th January 2015.

Advised the Ethiopian Seed Association (ESA) in strengthening their organisation and management, making the association more visible and effective through a number of measures stipulated in a Strategy Plan. Planned for new staff development and training programs during 2015, focusing on the knowledge gaps, such as business management, marketing, quality control, warehouse management. Furthermore, ESA´s mandate to introduce a Code of Practice, working across the boarders, networking with other associations and seed companies in Africa, Europe and Asia, was also given high attention during the mission, in order to create trust among farmers and strengthen ESA´s PR-activities across the boarders during 2015.

4th Mission in 2014 as Private Seed Sector Advisor in the ISSD Ethiopia Program

The Ethiopian Seed Association (ESA) in collaboration with Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) Ethiopia program arranged an awareness creation forum on 22nd November for small-scale private seed producers in Addis Ababa. The main objectives of the awareness creation forum were to acquaint the private seed producers about the importance of being a member of ESA and thereby to attract new members to the Association.  During the forum, the new member companies were informed about the benefits ESA provides to its member, similar to other seed associations do in the world. These benefits generally include provision of information, representation, professional consultancy, lobbying, networking for business development. Twenty four private seed companies/ producers attended the briefing forum, out of which 16 signed up to be a member. This will increase the total number of members to 40. ESA has been working hard since its establishment in 2006 to be visible, supporting its members, connecting them to regional and global seed industries.

The growing optimism in the private seed sector is of great importance to support. A template of a Business Plan and a case study, has been developed. It will soon be introduced among ESA´s members, as a management tool, planning, recording and assessing the operations. The ISSD Private Sector Experts will assist ESA by facilitating the process and provide training when need by.

Further more, a first draft of a Code of Conduct has been been drawn up, which will enhance the confidence among farmers to invest in certified seed of improved varieties.

Another key activity during the 4th mission were to revise the Strategy Plan of ESA, document what has been accomplished and make a plan for additional support to the private seed sector during 2015.

A Monitoring and Evaluation report for the second half of 2104 is being compiled, which will include the activities of ESA and the private seed companies, supported through the ISSD program, and remaining challenged to be addressed during 2015.



Two training courses in Seed Marketing and Seed Quality Control were conducted by the ISSD project and ESA in Addis Ababa

Two training courses were organized on Seed Marketing (1-3rd September) and Seed Quality Control (4-6th September), attended by professionals from the private (and some public) seed companies and producers, responding to the needs of enhanced knowledge in how to market seed directly. The concept of Direct Seed Marketing is being more widely practiced,  recognized by the authorities to be an effective and profitable way to make seed available to farmers across Ethiopia. A better system to control the Seed Quality (in each step of the seed value chain) was thoroughly penetrated and discussed, sharing experience and agreeing on how the quality can be maintained, through the seed multiplication, processing, treatment, packaging, storage, marketing and distribution stages.

In the evaluation of the two trainings, more awareness and local training in both Seed Marketing and Quality Control was requested preferable organized by the ISSD and the Ethiopian Seed Association (ESA) in the regions, hosted by some of the seed companies, more closely conducted where it is being practiced. Furthermore, Warehouse Management (i.e. seed storage and distribution) was also highlighted as a weak link in the seed chain, where training is needed, in combination with improved storage structures and equipment.

Furthermore, services were also rendered by Rutger Persson (as Private Seed Sector Consultant) in assisting the Ethiopian Seed Association, in completing the activities in the Strategy Plan (with firm deadlines) strengthening the organisation and management of the Seed Association, responding to the needs of ESA´s members – emerging seed companies, seed producers, seed cooperatives and other seed entrepreneurs.