Benefits of Seed Saving Unfold
Seed Savers Network continues to promote agro-biodiversity through community seed systems and seed access for improved seed security among smallholder farmers. Over 6,500 farmers have benefited through interaction with Seed Savers Network in various seed projects and programs this year. This brings the total number of individual farmers served since Seed Savers’ founding to nearly 50,000.
To increase our impact this year we have organized 25 seed fairs throughout the region where farmers are able to exhibit their seeds to members of their own farmer group as well to non-group members. These events bring together more than 200 farmers to learn about the importance of saving, selling, sharing, and exchanging their locally produced seeds with each other. For example, Jane Wanjiru from Eka Tano Women’s Group was able to exchange her bean variety, mwite mania, with Mary Njeri Mwaura from Diatomite Budget Women’s Group, who had the rare mukura noke variety of beans, during a seed fair organized at the Diatomite Farming Center. Others successes include the sale of 100 bunches of sweet potato vines at KSh 100 per bunch by the Diatomite Budget Women’s Group making KSh 10,000 for a non-group member.
At a recent seed fair in Kigogo Mr. Francis Ngiri, a group member of Makongo Farmers Network, sold chia seeds he produced through self-seed saving for KSh 1,700. In addition to Mr. Ngiri’s success, Mary Karori sold cassava cuttings making KSh 400 and Jenifer Ngendo sold 2kgs of broad beans to John Mwaura, a non-group member, for KSh 400.
According to one seed fair attendee, Elizabeth Wangeci, “This is a great approach to farming and we did not know that we can learn that much from each other. As for me I had just one type of beans in huge quantities but I have exchanged to another fast growing variety and I am really grateful.”
This year farmers sold KSh 70,000 worth of seeds to members and non-group members who attended Seed Savers sponsored seed fairs.