Aid Agencies and Seed

Fri, 04/12/2009 – Jude Fanton

If aid agencies are to help the poorest of the farmers they may as well invest some of their funds in helping farmers, who practically all save some seeds, to create seed networks and community seed banks.

We advise them to ask these questions: what is the local seed system like? Are there traditional local seed exchanges? Do home gardeners and small impoverished farmers have access to the seeds suitable to their food production? When commercial farmers, market gardeners or subsistence farmers replace their traditional local varieties by commercial seeds (often for the sake of productivity) what do you do? Have you planned for that?

When some of the genepool say of eggplants, another native crop of India, is further eroded, will farmers have the ability to continue the adaptation process for climate change-friendly characteristics? Incidentally Monsanto-Parry’s GM eggplant has been approved for release, Hindu Times, Nov 9th 2009.