Farmers Database and E-Extension

Francis Ngiri showing saved Chia seeds
Francis Ngiri showing saved Chia seeds. Ngiri is the only supplier of Chia seeds in our database.

The Seed Savers Network database captures information on unique seeds to ease traceability and link the supply to the demand. Some of the crops and seeds that farmers have provided for our database include vegetables like amaranths, spider plant, black nightshade, cabbage, kale, onion, garlic, lettuce, coriander, California wonder and chia seed; root crops like carrot, arrow roots, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, yam, and cereal crops; 10 local maize varieties including sorghum, pearl millet, and finger millet; 40 varieties of beans including saitoti, kibuu, gifamu, nyayo, wairimu, mwitemania, ayub, kiburo, and noe; and fodder crops like Boma Rhodes, calliandra, desmodium, vetiver grass, and nappier grass. Information in the farmers database helps to link supply to demand in the informal seed sector (open source seeds). This database facilitates farmer to farmer seed trade and exchange which is important because local crop seeds and planting materials are not available in the conventional market. This database provides potential buyers with information on how to contact farmers and what they produce.

Our database includes over 2,500 farmers spread across Kenya in the rift valley, and central, eastern, and western Kenya. So far, this information has enhanced our agribusiness market linkages. For example, through online advertising of farmers produce and unique seeds interested buyers can reach farmers easily. Francis Ngiri, pictured above, benefited from this program when he was connected to a buyer in Nairobi who purchased chia seeds worth KSh 3,600.

To promote this and other Seed Savers work and to provide additional information to farmers online we have been working to increase our social media presence. Our Facebook audience currently stands at 300 people and we have been posting photos from advocacy and extension activities on agro-biodiversity conservation and food sovereignty twice per week. We have also created a twitter account allowing farmers to receive Seed Savers tweets for free via SMS once they follow our twitter handle. These tweets provide farmers with ecological agriculture farming tips and market information from Seed Savers extension staff at their convenience.

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