NSP - Seed Systems

Seed Systems

Seed is one of the most crucial elements in the livelihoods of agricultural communities. It is the repository of the genetic potential of crop species and their varieties resulting from the continuous improvement and selection over time. The potential benefits of seed to crop productivity and food security can be enormous.

In addition, production increases brought about by the use of adapted varieties increases farmers’ income when market linkages exist. Food security is heavily dependent on the seed security of the farming community.

A sustainable seed system will ensure that high quality seeds of a wide range of varieties and crops are produced and fully available in time and affordable to farmers and other stakeholders. However, in many developing countries farmers have not yet been able to fully benefit from the advantages of using quality seed due to a combination of factors, including inefficient seed production, distribution and quality assurance systems, as well as bottlenecks caused by a lack of good seed policy on key issues such as access to credit for inputs. Furthermore, the pressure from the fluctuating food prices and climate change creates additional challenges.

To mitigate the stated constraints, FAO works in a range of areas related to capacity building to enhance seed systems and to facilitate farmers’ access to good quality seed of locally-adapted varieties. These activities include: