Tratado Internacional sobre los Recursos Fitogenéticos para la Alimentación y la Agricultura

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

National Community Seed Bank Platform for Strengthening Informal Seed System in Ethiopia
Where are we working?

The project is working with more than 30 community seed banks (CSBs) in different agroecological zones of Ethiopia

What are we doing?

The project aims to establish a national platform for Community Seed Banks in Ethiopia that will support existing CSBs, as well as networks of nearly 30 CSBs in different agroecological zones. The initiative also seeks to scale out community seed banks’ activities and achievements, and contribute to strengthening the informal seed system that meets more than 90 percent of the country’s national seed demand.

What has been achieved to date?

  • A project inception workshop was organized with the participation of farmers, CSB leaders, and government and non-government actors working on community seed banks. These included Ethio-organic Seed Action (EOSA), MELCA-Ethiopia, ETHIOWET LAND and Bioversity International.
  • Training and experience-sharing workshops were organized in different parts of the country and at different community seed banks. A total of 254 participants were trained from different CSBs, and 31 experts from different stakeholders working on CSBs, as well as from cooperatives, local administrations and others participated in the workshops.
  • Landraces (farmers’ varieties) of 11 crop species were purchased and conserved as seed capital for five newly established CSBs. These landraces were seriously threatened and had often been lost at local level, in farmers’ fields. The project purchased 2 007 kg of such crops and distributed them through the CSBs to crop conservator farmers.
  • Training was delivered to staff at the Crop and Horticulture Directorate of the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute by the Information and communication Technology Directorate of the Institute on Digital Data Collection of characterization activities. Digital data collection software was also developed for different crop descriptors, and installed on tablets.
  • A survey was conducted in two regions to assess the status of diversity and the needs of the CSBs for conservation and restoration of local landraces. The data are being analysed and a scientific report will be published.
  • A participatory on-farm farmer’s evaluation of important traits for adaptation and resilience to climate change is currently being conducted. During the current cropping season, 101 landraces of different crop species such as barley, durum wheat and oat – as well as others that had been collected from the same locality during the past three decades and conserved in the gene bank at Addis Ababa – were selected and planted at the Awzet CSB.

Who has benefited?

So far, CSB member farmers, development and extension workers, cooperative offices linked to the CSBs, other government offices working with CSBs, and non-governmental organizations have all benefited directly and indirectly from the project activities. Community seed banks, especially newly established ones, have received both capacity-building support and seeds and materials.
Barley, Banana / Plantain, Chickpea, Faba Bean / Vetch, Finger Millet, Grass pea, Oat, Plaintain/Banana, Sorghum, Wheat, Yams
Region: Africa
Target Countries: Ethiopia
Implementing institution: Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute (EBI). Link to dedicated website:
Contact details: Dr Tamene Yohannes Project Coordinator, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, P.O. Box 30726, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ([email protected]). Tel. +251-911399341

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