MEDA assisted the Engro Foundation to pilot an innovative inclusive seed business model by strengthening the capacity of more than 4,000 women and men smallholder farmers in producing seeds for rice, wheat, and vegetables.



PAVE aimed to create a more equitable seed system in Pakistan by training and strengthening the capacity of smallholder farmers as seed producers and entrepreneurs. In addition to market linkage expansion for multi-seed crops, MEDA assisted Engro in conducting capacity strengthening and gender inclusion trainings. 


The goal of the PAVE project was to increase the income of smallholder farmers (SMFs) by sharing the value of growing seed-multiplication crops and selling their seed to processors at a higher price. The project partners with Engro to help them increase seed sales and broaden seed procurement by incorporating SMFs into its seed multiplication network.


The PAVE project strengthened the capacity of more than 4,000 smallholder men and women farmers on the use of quality certified seed use and seed multiplication through training. The project further connected the farmers to Engro registered seed suppliers and developed enterprising smallholder farmers as master trainers or seed entrepreneurs to produce their own quality farm-saved seed for further exchange, distribution, and sale among fellow farmers in nearby villages. 


In Pakistan, 75% of seed in the seed system/value chain is uncertified and sold through informal channels. Although seed is the main input in crop production (from which the quality of the produce largely depends), the majority of seed supply does not meet the minimum criteria of purity and quality, resulting in lower quality yields and harvests. This low-quality seed is primarily used by the smallholder farmers, that makes up 80% of the farmers in Pakistan, while the remaining 20% use the higher quality, certified seed produced by seed companies in collaboration with big resourceful farmers. For smallholder farmers who are risk averse and with limited resources, it is vital to first strengthen their capacity as users and producers of quality seed.


The total Pakistan seed industry size being Rs. 124 billion (AUD $1.5 billion), with more than 500 private sector seed companies and large public sector seed corporations are the exclusive seed producers in the country who have developed about 15,000-20,000 seed minded farmers in Punjab. These large-scale, commercial farmers dominate the market and exclude smallholder farmers, including women farmers, from this value chain. 

This presents a great opportunity for commercial seed players to build partnerships with smallholders farmers as customers and producers of quality seed while at the same time making modern farming and seed production techniques more accessible for small scale farmers.


Strengthen the capacity of 4,000 smallholder farmers (including 400 women) around quality certified seed use and seed multiplication. This includes:

  • Implementing rice and wheat-related Best Crop Management Practices (BCMP) and Seed Production trainings to improve their knowledge, skill set and expertise
  • Providing targeted results for improving their practices, adoption, conversion to certified seed use, yields, profitability, income, livelihood, empowerment and entrepreneurship
  • Increasing participation in seed programs on a sustainable basis
  • Improve the readiness of 1,640 smallholders, to participate in a seed multiplication process to a level that commercial companies find technically viable
  • Convert 300 smallholder farmers to registered seed suppliers for Engro’s seed business.
  • Develop approximately 60 smallholder farmers as Master Trainers to produce their own quality farm-saved seed for further exchange, distribution and sale among other local farmers

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Further Reading

Gendered impacts of COVID-19

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a small survey was conducted with married women farmer clients in MEDA’s PAVE project. The purpose of this survey was to understand how life, workloads, and household dynamics of the women farmers have been impacted by COVID-19.

Case Study: Project PAVE

MEDA’s PAVE project aims to broaden and diversify the seed procurement base for rice, wheat, and vegetable seeds for Engro Fertilizer’s seed business while improving livelihoods for smallholder farmers. This case study provides best practice examples of shared value in action in Pakistan and how leading with purpose can deliver  measurable commercial benefits for businesses.

System Change Research

This report presents the findings of a qualitative study to measure system level changes that the Partnerships and Value Chain Expansion (PAVE) project created in the seed value chain. The PAVE project is being implemented in the Gujranwala and Sheikhupura districts of Punjab Province, Pakistan.

Shared Value Blog

The blog highlights how the PAVE (Partnership and Value Expansion) project in Pakistan made a difference in the lives of smallholder farmers while enhancing the seed business value chain.

PAVE Client Story


This project was undertaken with the financial support of Australian Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Business Partnership Platform