Seed for Survival (SFS) Phase I and II
Genetic diversity within a crop species is a crucial asset available to resource poor farmers for managing vulnerability, uncertainty, shock and stresses. These resources hold the key to increasing food security and improving the human well-being. Ability of a particular diversity to withstand drought or inundation, grow in poor or rich soil, resist one of the many insect pests or diseases, give higher nutrient yield or produce a better tasting food are the traits passed on naturally by its genes. Without this diversity, we would lose the ability to adapt the ever-changing needs and conditions, ultimately resulting inability to achieve sustainable agriculture development.
Unfortunately, the conventional modern agriculture has threatened the issue of food security of such farming communities through genetic erosion of these diversities. In this context, the project “Seed for Survival” was launched in four different ethnic communities in western and central region of Nepal. It incorporated the issues of sustainable agriculture, on farm agrobiodiversity conservation and management, food security and farmers seed rights to promote the local crop diversities through due management of local knowledge, skill and practices to better the livelihood of the communities.
The project covered four districts in Western and Central region and had set the beneficiary group as four different ethnic groups in respective sites, i.e. Tharu in Chitwan, Magar in Tanahun, Chepang (Praja) in Gorkha, and Gurung in Kaski. NPG implemented the project since March 2005 in close collaboration with its Member Organizations (MOs) in the respective areas, i.e., ECOSCENTRE in Chitwan and Tanahun and LI-BIRD in Kaski and Gorkha sites. UCN, The Netherlands (now changed as ICCO Kerkinactie) had the financial support to the project.
The project could have well impact on community in the respective sites, particularly in sensitization on conservation and management of local agro-biodiversity, strengthening their capacity on agro-biodiversity conservation practices and institutional management activities, income generation through agro-biodiversity management and sustainable agriculture practices.
Major objectives of the project were as below:
- Conserve and manage local agro-biodiversity focusing on indigenous knowledge, skills and seeds/species of low prioritized high nutritional crop species
- Increase income of rural poor and marginalized farmers generating employment opportunities through market linkage and micro enterprise development of low prioritized highly nutritious cereal crops on an institutional process
- Inception of on farm research on selected cultivars aiming to contribute for the conservation of agro-biodiversity
- Strengthen institutional capacity of local groups on entrepreneur and commercialization process and quality service delivery system of stakeholders in agro-biodiversity conservation and management
Strengthen local initiatives on agro-biodiversity conservation and management of cereal crops interlinking with natural resource management and local food security.