Emergency seed relief

Before the outbreak of civil war in 1994, farmers in Rwanda grew more than 500 varieties of beans - the staple food. During the conflict, farmers' seed reserves were eaten or destroyed and harvests were lost. Aid agencies responded by donating seeds of new and supposedly higher yielding bean varieties. But these imported varieties were not bred for local growing conditions or for market demands. Some of them yielded 30 percent less than the traditional varieties. Reusing seeds from these harvests year after year, increases the risk of future food shortages.

pdf version

Rwanda: bean seed donated by the international community in 1994
FAO/17657/G. Diana

More photos on seed security:
  • Bangladesh: woman cleaning Chinese cabbage seed
  • Peru: women farmers sowing potato seeds
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