February 2015: Bioversity International has released two reports on missions supporting the development of community seed banks in two South African communities. The reports provide the results of an analysis of current seed systems and management practices and outline criteria for sound management of community seed banks.
- The report of the first mission, titled ‘Embracing Diversity: Inputs for a Strategy to Support Community Seedbanks in South Africa’s Smallholder Farming Areas,’ outlines results of a follow-up mission to communities in the Limpopo and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa that had been selected as sites for establishing pilot community seed banks. Prior to this it was determined whether farmers in the selected communities were still using landraces and applying traditional practices of seed management, such as saving and exchanging seeds. The report recommends recognizing farmer’s efforts to maintain traditional crop diversity; improving access to seeds and planting materials at the village and municipal levels through seed fairs and community seed banks; and increasing the availability of seeds through improved management and seed production.
- The second mission aimed to: understand existing household and community seed storage practices and identify their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement; discuss with farmers how to organize an effective community seedbank; organize a food fair; and identify an appropriate physical structure for a community seedbank in one site. The report, titled ‘Savouring Diversity: First Steps in Implementing a Strategy to Support Community Seedbanks in South Africa’s Smallholder Farming Areas,’ summarizes the results of participatory research conducted to investigate these questions.