Strengthening Community Seed Sovereignty and Revival of Farmers' Seed Diversity – African Biodiversity Network (ABN)
In Ethiopia, improved varieties of seeds and commercial fertilizer supplied by government extension system are posing high treat to indigenous varieties of seeds protected and preserved by the community for centuries. Those Ethiopian smallholder farmers reached by the existing conventional agriculture system are becoming highly dependent on these external inputs that have environmental and economic impacts in the long run. Costs of these inputs are also increasing overtime because of different reasons.
Adoption is a good strategy for Ethiopian farmers to combat climate change challenges which many African farmers are suffering from. ISD is working with farming communities in different regions of the country on promoting organic agriculture and environmental protection. It is not about producing much and mono cropping, it is about diversity and sustainability. It is also about human healthy that related to nutrition. Once farmers have diversified production, it is not difficult to have diversified food. Therefore, through this intervention, ISD will work with Boru-Sillassie community on implementation of agro-ecological farming and indigenous seeds varieties of restoration and preservation.
It appears that the farmers in the project area need to have a place where they can collect and multiply indigenous seeds which are under threat. During our assessment, they told us most of indigenous seed varieties are missing; they only have their memories in mind. They were telling us test of foods and local drinks made of them and how they were enjoying them during their childhood. ISD’s plan is to build seed bank for this communities to create opportunities to them to look for the lost seeds and collect, duplicate share them with their neighbors. Along this, ISD will also provide trainings on compost making where farmers will recycle wastes and reuse them in their production processes.
In rural communities of Ethiopia, women role in seed selection and preservation is high. They are the one who select the seed for sowing, storing, and food preparation. They know better the nutritional value of indigenous seeds and how to store them for next production season. Their role in this project will be also maintained and recognized. They will be involved in trainings, experience sharing visits and in the whole process of the project.
At the end of project period, farmers in Boru-Sillassie will be organized in to association and have:-
- Seed bank where they can preserve indigenous seeds varieties of different crops.
- Understanding of agro-ecological principles and use in their production processes.
- Seed map and eco-map to understand what was missed and look for restoration.
- The community practice where others can learn from.
- Knowledge on IPM and reduce using pesticides.