NSP - Seed Security and Rehabilitation

Seed Security and Rehabilitation

Preparedness for, and effective and sustainable response to food and agricultural emergencies, is one of the strategic objectives of FAO. Many of the FAO Member Nations have had or currently have FAO emergency operations. Initiatives are underway to strengthen seed system-related responses. The basic rationale is that in emergency situations affected farming and displaced households have lost their seed and capacity for food production. By supplying good quality seed of appropriate varieties they can resume and increase agriculture production thereby reducing or eliminating dependence on food aid following the next harvest. Seed system analysis is being integrated into emergency needs assessment guidelines, as well as a code of conduct for seed distribution and support to local seed systems. Finally, the use of seed fairs with vouchers for a market-based approach to seed relief has been implemented in various countries with key partners in situations where seed access is the main issue. In addition AGP undertakes rehabilitation of national seed systems after civil strife through a combination of policy assistance, technical assistance and training.

Seed Security

The availability and access to seeds is of particular importance to farmers in developing countries or areas frequently subject to droughts or other natural or human disasters. Seed security is defined as ready access by rural households, particularly farmers and farming communities, to adequate quantities of quality seed and planting materials of crop varieties, adapted to their agro-ecological conditions and socioeconomic needs, at planting time, under normal and abnormal weather conditions. Initiatives to improve seed security need to be based on a better understanding of them.

Seed Security Assessments

An ECHO funded project is being implemented by FAO aiming at developing the capacity of humanitarian experts to conduct high quality and rapid seed security assessments so that better informed and timelier decisions are taken in seed-related interventions in emergency and rehabilitation contexts. The project, running from July 2013 to December 2014, focuses on crisis-prone countries in the Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger) and the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan). Key activities include: