TRAINING REPORT ON STRENGTHENING FARMERS SEED SECURITY SYSTEMS FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY AND IMPROVED COMMUNITY LIVELIHOOD OF THE FARMERS LIVING IN SIHA DISTRICT, KILIMANJARO REGION, TANZANIA.

Introduction

Envirocare with the support from Global Greengrant Funds (GGF) conducted training and cultural exhibition of local seed varieties to 40 farmers living at Lawate and Fuka Villages in Sanya Juu, held on 6th to 7th July 2017. The training aimed at strengthening farmers seed security systems for food sovereignty and improved community livelihood of the farmers living in Siha District, Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania.

The objective of the training was to bring farmers together and share indigenous knowledge, experiences, challenges and achievements on local seed varieties, seed multiplication, seed storage, and seed selection so that to ensure sustainable seed security systems and diversity of farmers’ seed varieties for biodiversity conservation and adaptation measures to climate change is achieved. The training used participatory approach whereby strong participation and interaction between facilitators and participants/farmers existed.

The training took on board 30 small scale farmers who were targeted for capacity building on establishment of farmers’ field school for seed recovery, seed selection, seed improvement, seed saving and seed storage.

 

Activities performed

  • Establish farmers’ field school for seed recovery e.g. multiplication

For the purpose of addressing the risk of diminishing seed varieties and loss of germplasm, Envirocare managed to facilitate small scale farmers to establish field schools at their home farms so as to regenerate seed variety base that suits their food sovereignty needs. The 30 farmers who were selected based on gender had opportunities to share their traditional knowledge and experience of local seed multiplication especially for seed varieties which are almost extinct but also those farmers’ varieties that would increase seed availability and access.

  • Demonstration on seed selection, improvement, saving and storage

Conventional farming is one of the farming type which is being practiced by large and small holders farmers in Siha District. Due to the promotion of conventional farming, local seeds have been under great threat of being wiped out. During the demonstration on seed selection, improvement, saving and seed storage, farmers were able to share their knowledge on selection of good seeds, seed improvement, seed saving methods and seed storage.

Farmer’s knowledge on seed storage that were mentioned out are; hanging of seeds outside on a tree or inside over a kitchen (fire place), use of dry containers, earth pots, guards sealed with earth or cow dung, green leaves of specific plant, traditional storage structures (Vihenge), special platform constructed above the fire place, and airtight clay pots.

  • Conduct cultural exhibition on seed varieties.

Exhibition on local seed and traditional food was conducted at Sanya Juu, in Siha District where farmers from different locations of Sanya Juu had opportunity to showcase their seed work, multiplication, preservation and storage. Elders, groups of women farmers, youth and children had room to exchange indigenous knowledge and documentation made. Government agricultural officers from Siha District Council were invited to participate in the exhibition.

Lesson learnt

  • Every plant leaf which exists on earth has medicinal properties and can be used as medicine to human health. Also, there are existing number of local seed varieties which are being used as medicine to cure human health problems such as pneumonia, reproductive disorders, prostate gland cancers etc
  • Smallholder’s farmers have retained varieties of local seeds; however, farmers have adopted improved seeds for cash production.

 

Challenges

  • Inadequate awareness on seed multiplication and storage. This leads to low quality of local seeds regardless of their ability to tolerate drought and diseases.
  • Seed act (2003) and seed regulation (2007) does not recognize local/traditional system for seed multiplication thus farmers will have no brand.
  • Limited capital to multiply local seed.
  • Loss of local seed biodiversity.

 

 

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