LSP Working Paper 6
Access to Natural Resources Sub-Programme

Understanding Access to Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources:

What Can a Livelihoods Perspective Offer?

Shaila Seshia with Ian Scoones
Environment Group
Institute of Development Studies
University of Sussex
UK

November 2003

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Livelihood Support Programme (LSP)
An inter-departmental programme for improving support for enhancing livelihoods of the rural poor.

Table of Contents


The Livelihood Support Programme

The Livelihood Support Programme (LSP) evolved from the belief that FAO could have a greater impact on reducing poverty and food insecurity, if its wealth of talent and experience were integrated into a more flexible and demand-responsive team approach.

The LSP works through teams of FAO staff members, who are attracted to specific themes being worked on in a sustainable livelihoods context. These cross-departmental and cross-disciplinary teams act to integrate sustainable livelihoods principles in FAO’s work, at headquarters and in the field. These approaches build on experiences within FAO and other development agencies.

The programme is functioning as a testing ground for both team approaches and sustainable livelihoods principles.

Email: lsp@fao.org

Access to natural resources sub-programme

Access by the poor to natural resources, including land, forests, water, fisheries and wildlife, is essential for sustainable poverty reduction. Landless people in rural areas are particularly vulnerable, because without secure access to land and other natural resources, they can have more difficulty obtaining food, accumulating other assets and recovering after environmental and economic shocks or misfortunes.

The main goal of this sub-programme is to build stakeholder capacity to improve poor people’s access to natural resources. It also aims to make sustainable livelihoods approaches more effective in reducing poverty among the poorest of the poor, particularly landless and near landless people.

To date, the sub-programme has analysed the relationship between access to natural resources and sustainable livelihoods, in particular evaluating the contribution of sustainable livelihoods approaches to an understanding of the relevant poverty, vulnerability and livelihood issues.


Table of Contents

Summary

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1. Introduction: Understanding Access to Seeds and PGRs
1.2. Using a livelihoods perspective
1.3. Contributions to FAO's objectives
1.4. Organization of the paper

2. SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS - WHAT CAN IT OFFER?

2.1. Introduction
2.2. Key principles and frameworks
2.3. Looking at seeds and PGRs through a sustainable livelihoods lens
2.4. Summary

3. CONTRIBUTION OF SEEDS AND PLANT GENETIC RESOURCES TO SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS

3.1. Introduction
3.2. Managing uncertainties
3.3. Maximising productive assets and strengthening the asset base
3.4. Visible and hidden contributions of seeds and PGRs to livelihood strategies
3.5. Summary

4. UNDERSTANDING ACCESS: HOW A SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS PERSPECTIVE CAN INFORM WORK ON SEEDS/PGRS

4.1. Introduction
4.2. Case 1: Seed Provision in Emergencies
4.3. Case 2: Wild and Weedy Resources and Local Crops
4.4. Case 3: Engaging with Research: Farmers' Access to Plant Genetic Resources
4.5. Summary

5. FUTURE DIRECTIONS: DEVELOPING A FRAMEWORK FOR ACCESS TO SEEDS/PGRS

5.1. Introduction
5.2. A Framework to Assist Efforts to Strengthen Access to Seeds and PGRs
5.3. Next Steps
5.4. Concluding Comment

References

FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE LSP


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