Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe

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Community seed banks guarantee food security

Community seed banks guarantee food security

By Phyllis Mbanje

SEED availability is a matter of national security, which will guarantee adequate food supplies, the Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT) has said.

Devastating droughts over the years resulted in many farmers losing their traditional crop varieties.

This is despite the fact that over 80% of the country derives its food security , livelihood and income from agriculture.

While seed is the basic unit vital for agricultural development, most smallholder farmers have limited access to quality seeds of improved varieties.

To mitigate further loss, CTDT, in consultation with the government and farmer communities, set up community seed banks.

The concept involves pooling together seed varieties by the community, which are stored in a facility built in the
respective districts.

The seed storage room is insulated to maintain relative room temperature ideal for seed storage.

Seed fairs will then be held once every year and bi-annually at national level to increase awareness.

Speaking at the official opening of the Chimukoko community seed bank in Mudzi on Thursday, CTDT director, Andrew Mushita said it was impossible to ensure food security in the absence of seed.

“There is need to enhance the livelihoods and seed security of small holder farmers by producing and marketing good quality seeds and increase diversity of seeds,” he said.

Oxfam Novib executive director from the Netherlands, Farah Karim, said in the face of climate change, seed security had become an area of concern.

“Smallholder farmers having access to seeds is critical if Zimbabwe is to achieve food security,” she said.

Karim promised that Oxfam, which is the funding partner for the seed banks initiative, would facilitate the process of ensuring farmers get access to drought tolerant seed.

Farmers from seven districts exhibited seed varieties of different crops, which they had collected within their communities.
“We are very excited about this project, which will help us preserve seed in our communities,” a farmer, Sarudzai Makanjeni from Rushinga, said

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