Pakistan partnerships in inclusive seed systems

This partnership develops an innovative, scalable and sustainable business model in Pakistan’s seed sector that broadens and diversifies the seed procurement base for rice, wheat and vegetables, resulting in improved livelihoods for male and female smallholder farmers.

In Pakistan, 75 per cent of seed is uncertified and sold through informal channels. Most of this uncertified seed does not meet minimum quality standards, resulting in poor yields. Furthermore, most seed in Pakistan is produced by large-scale, commercial farmers.

In this partnership:

  • Engro Corporation works with smallholder farmers, introducing them to seed growing techniques and helping them become part of the seed supply chain.
  • Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), through existing partnerships with Engro, help smallholders while ensuring sustainable business benefits for Engro.

DFAT provide expertise in women’s economic empowerment and agricultural development, and support with critical co-investment. DFAT also leverage its convening power and local networks to achieve development and social outcomes.

Location of partnership

Partnership aims

  • Target villages in the Districts of Sheikhupura/Gujranwala in Punjab to increase participation of male and female smallholder farmers in the seed value chain.
  • Improve skills and expertise to improve smallholder farmers’ crop yields and income.
  • Convert 4,000 smallholder farmers to use certified seeds to improve crop yield and quality, with a target of 400 female farmers.
  • Convert 300 smallholder farmers into registered seed suppliers for Engro’s seed business.
  • Train approximately 60 smallholder farmers to produce their own quality seed.

Key facts




Gender equality

This initiative promotes gender equality by:

  • Promoting women’s economic empowerment through alternative livelihoods – as farmers using better seeds, as seed multipliers and as registered seed suppliers.
  • Enhancing women’s voices in decision making and community leadership through introduction of Women’s Seed Multiplication groups. 

While women work in smallholder farms, they are not in public leadership roles and are not seen as seed producers. The partnership aims to ensure 10 per cent of farmers participating at each level are women - from the initial farmer training through to registration as seed suppliers. The partnership uses Women’s Seed Multiplication Groups (WSMG) and trains women master trainers to enable women to access new skills and information in culturally appropriate settings. Seed production and management are potentially lucrative for women as post-harvest handling for seed can be done from home.

Shared value

This partnership creates shared value by redefining productivity in the value chain.

By working with smallholder farmers, Engro will be able to broaden its seed supplier base and the volume of seed available for sale. These farmers benefit primarily through increased income from producing and selling certified seed, which can be sold at a higher price than regular crops. Farmers also benefit by learning new farming practices and marketing techniques.

MEDA will ensure female farmers are brought into this supply chain. Rural labourers benefit from higher wages that come from supporting seed farming.

What is shared value?

Shared value is defined as policies and practices that enhance the competitiveness of companies while improving social and environmental conditions in the regions where they operate. To qualify as shared value, there must be an identifiable economic benefit to the company as well as measurable impact on a social or environmental issue. The BPP is helping businesses partner with the Australian aid program in achieving shared value – advancing both social and economic objectives. These partnerships are primarily being created in one or more of the following ways:

  • Reconceiving products and markets
  • Redefining productivity in the value chain
  • Enabling local cluster development

Partner information


Engro Corporation is a diverse company with operations in fertiliser, dairy, energy and chemicals. It also has a fast growing seed business. In 2009 it established the Engro Foundation, a social investment arm. Business inclusiveness is at the heart of Engro’s social impact strategy as the company looks to integrate the underprivileged, youth and women into its value chains. Engro lead this initiative, including all technical and commercial activities.

Engro Foundation logo 


For 60 years, MEDA has implemented market-driven initiatives in the developing world. MEDA focuses on market systems development, inclusive financial services, and investment-led programming. MEDA has a strong history in agriculture, building and strengthening the business foundations and commercial relationships smallholder farmers need to improve their livelihoods. For this initiative MEDA advise on outreach to poor farmers and women, and manage reporting on financial and development outcomes.

MEDA logo  

Last Updated: 1 December 2017