SEED EXCHANGE TRANSFORMS LIVES

Francis Ngiri is at his farm when I visited, he is a farmer from makongo, Kiptagwanyi area in Nakuru County. He is a member of makongo farmer’s network group, one of the groups managed by Seed Savers Network.

He started saving seeds in 2014 where he was saving seeds that were common to other farmers such local beans, maize,vegetable,,sorghum among others. Francis is a role model to  other farmers in his group since he has been able

to save huge  amount of seeds in their seed bank, for example 90 kg of red kidney beans, red sorghum 45 kg, 30 glasses of black night shade and many more .Being a leader of makongo farmers network group he attends different seminars and trainings organized by seed savers network  on farming .

During one of the training in November last year,a diverse seed competition organized by PELUM-Kenya, ,he was

Francis sorting seeds

able to interact with other farmers at a different level where they exchanged, loaned  and shared seeds among

themselves. To him, this was a great opportunity since he exchanged 500gs of thorn melon seeds for 500g hibiscus seeds. Through the knowledge he had in seed saving, he went on and multiplied the seeds which gave him bumper harvest even during hash climatic conditions in the area. He is currently giving other group members these seeds to benefit from seed saving initiative. He has enough for planting in an acre.seed savers network has already secured market for these crop which will boost their income and seed saving efforts.

SEED SAVING MANUAL FOR ENHANCING AGRO-BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION

Robust seed systems are central to sustainable food systems that are renewable, resilient, equitable, diverse, healthy, and interconnected. Seed Savers Network believes in the need to support community based and farmer managed

Our Extension Manual

seeds systems in order to protect and enhance seed diversity. The diversity of traditional seeds saved by small scale farmers is rooted in the knowledge that seeds are the foundation of life and more than a source of food which we

promote through our seed saving extension manual.

This manual is designed to empower and give skill to small-scale farmers. It equips farmers with the knowledge on how to save clean seeds. It incorporates farm level practical to ensure that farmers obtain the best seed; well selected, cleaned, sorted and stored in the seed bank. Through the manual also, farmers learn on the importance of conserving agro bio diversity. The manual is obtained at seed savers network office where non-members pay a higher cost compared to those who have membership to seeds savers network.

ECOLOGICAL AGRICULTURE USING VERTICAL BAG METHOD

Seed Savers Network believes in ecological agriculture which ensures healthy farming and healthy food. We work to protect the soil, water and the climate. We achieve this by training our farmers on use of farm inputs which does not contaminate the environment. We are a member of Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association.

For realization of this objective, we have set suitable farming technologies for training farmers and visitors at our demonstration garden. One of the methods is vertical bag farming which has also been very beneficial to our staff

Our Extension Officer attending the garden

during the dry period in supply of vegetables. Vertical bag farming increases water utilization efficiency, Promotes agro-biodiversity conservation by planting together various local vegetables, ideal for steady supply of vegetables to

households, requires less labour, suitable for farming without use of chemicals, can be a component of landscaping in residential areas, utilizes idle and available small space for conversion to kitchen gardens and finally is a suitable farming model for urban farmers.

Through our extension department we train and establish these gardens to urban farmers as a package. Beneficiaries enjoy self-reliance on supply of vegetables for their domestic use and avails the surplus to their neighbors to earn extra income. We enhance the project also by ensuring diverse seed access to urban farming community.