Somaseed: improving the genetic quality of seeds in Somalia

Nov 2019

Somalia has experienced unsustainable natural resource use and environmental degradation, as well as the introduction of foreign plant germplasm, some of which have outcrossed with local landraces leading to genetic contamination. These have created a cycle of lack of quality locally adapted crop genetic materials, low crop production and eventually food and nutrition insecurity. Continued reliance on imported crop germplasm poses additional phytosanitary risks of introducing pests and diseases given the weak control measures.

Some of these problems have been addressed by two previous consecutive phases of the “Improvement and sustainable use of plant genetic resource programme”. Further work has been done towards improving the quality of the genetic material of key crops such as maize, sorghum, cowpeas and rice that exist in Somalia. New varieties have been tested in various agro-ecological conditions in Somalia and made available to small scale farmers. Improving the quality of seeds that farmers can access will translate into significantly higher crop yields along with increased food production and higher level of income, which are major contributors to food security.

Author: FAO/Somalia