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Promoting the Growth and Development of Smallholder Seed Enterprises for Food Security Crops

Case studies from Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire and India







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    Booklet
    Strengthening sector policies for better food security and nutrition results: Crops and varieties
    Policy Guidance Note No. 15
    2021
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    This policy guidance note is part of a series developed to support governments and their development partners in creating a policy and institutional environment to achieve sustainable food security and nutrition and meet SDG2. This note focuses on crops and varieties, the foundation of agriculture and food production, and outlines policies and actions needed to ensure that farmers have access to quality seeds and planting materials of well-adapted and preferred crop varieties. Good quality seeds and plant materials, of crop varieties which have desirable traits bred into them do not just happen; they have to be developed. This policy guidance note shows how this development depends on a continuum of activities to manage plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), from the conservation of plant genetic diversity, to the effective use of this diversity in breeding productive and nutritious crop varieties, to the delivery of seeds and planting materials to farmers. This note presents practical steps that governments may take in articulating policies and activities, drawing heavily from the Second Global Plan of Action for PGRFA, an internationally agreed framework for the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA. This note helps policymakers to understand the potential of PGRFA to improve food security and nutrition, and to recognise this in their policies.
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    Document
    Community seed banks
    Junior Farmer Field and Life School - Facilitator’s guide
    2014
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    Seed saving is a practice that farmers and their families have been engaged in for millennia. It has allowed them to cultivate a large number of different local varieties, which have been able to adapt to different environmental conditions and changes, such as to the shortages of water, strong winds, limited soil nutrients and so on. Although seeds can be saved at the global level, such as in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault1, this may not be enough to ensure diversity at local level. In this rega rd, community seed banks can help farmers to access seeds to grow crops during the next planting season or they can be used as an emergency seed supply when their crops are damaged and destroyed, for example, due to flooding. As climate change has a significant impact on agricultural production, growing local varieties, which have a high degree of genetic diversity, is highly important because these varieties have the ability to better withstand and adapt to environmental stresses and changes. S etting up community seed banks may help farmers to acquire varieties that are adapted to local conditions; these varieties may not be accessible through formal seed systems, may be costly or may suffer from erratic supplies. If farmers, in particular small holder farmers with poor resources, can access these locally adapted varieties, it can help them to get access to seeds for the next planting season as well as provide them with an emergency seed supply in times of crisis, thus making them les s dependent on the formal seed systems. Community seed banks will help to preserve seed of the most adapted varieties for the region, either local varieties or new ones coming from breeding programs. The selection of the most suited varieties for a region needs time and trials with technical support, but after the identification of best varieties, the community seed bank plays a very important role in maintaining the availability of quality seed. Seed diversity is enhanced and additional income is generated when seeds are exchanged and sold to neighbouring communities. Diversification of crops and varieties is also highly important in terms of people’s food security, because it reduces the risk of total production failures and contributes to strengthening communities’ resilience.
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    Document
    Seed system security assessment report for Darfur region
    Sudan, June 2011
    2012
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    Seed security interventions in Sudan have focused on improving availability and access through seed aid and seed multiplication. Over the years, determination of the need for seed aid and rehabilitation has largely been based, implicitly or explicitly, on the following studies: post-harvest assessments conducted by the State Ministries of Agriculture in close collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO); the Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions; and ot her needs assessments, which have limited scope in examining seed security or the dynamics of the seed system. The comprehensive Seed System Security Assessment (SSSA) was undertaken to review the functioning of the existing seed systems (both formal and informal) in the country, with particular focus on the Darfur region. The assessment looked at whether seeds of adequate and preferred quality are available and whether farmers are able to access them. The approach is also expected to promote st rategic thinking about the relief, rehabilitation and development vision needed for future interventions. The comprehensive SSSA adopted a two-way approach: a commissioning of background synthesis, and primary data collection from the various stakeholders at field level. Background synthesis included: a) the formal plant breeding structures and processes; b) the formal seed production structures and processes; and c) current decentralized seed multiplication and distribution initiatives in Darf ur. The fieldwork covered 12 localities and 19 administrative units within Darfur. The method encompassed individual interviews with 725 farming households and 99 grain/seed traders; 12 community interviews and focus group discussions with women’s groups; key informant interviews with nine agro-input dealers and two agroprocessors. This is one of the most, if not the only, comprehensive agricultural and seed security assessments carried out in Sudan, with focus on Darfur region.

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