SEVIA supports the development of improved varieties through the breeding program for African vegetables of Afrisem. SEVIA works closely with its breeding 'sister' Afrisem, a breeding station in Tanzania, set up in 2008 by East West Seed and Rijk Zwaan.


East-West Seed and Rijk Zwaan are both world class technology leaders in vegetable variety breeding and quality seed production. In the case of Afrisem, a team of specialists is in constant search for perfection by looking for varieties with even better combinations of desired characteristics / traits. These adapted vegetable varieties have better resistance to diseases, and farmers, traders and consumers will benefit from improved productivity. 

As the starting point for its breeding activities SEVIA considers the wishes and demands of African vegetable growers, traders and consumers. Farmers require a high quality seed ( high germination percentage and purity), resistance to pests and diseases and high yield, for instance, while traders demand a long shelf-life. Meanwhile, consumers are concerned with the taste and appearance of the vegetables on offer. 

Developing a new variety is a lengthy process. In most cases it will take between 6-12 years before an initial idea has evolved into a new vegetable variety for the consumer. Once it is clear which traits a new variety should have, a breeder starts looking for genetic material that can serve as the starting point to develop lines and hybrids that can provide a particular combination of traits. Having started already some time ago, the first hybrid varieties are already being tested among selected Tanzanian farmers.