Bioversity Builds Farmers’ Capacity to Select and Produce Seeds in India
29 April 2014: Bioversity International has conducted a range of activities as part of its Seeds for Needs Initiative, including a field day and training workshops for 1700 farmers in India.
Bioversity International scientists presented the Initiative's background, progress and future activities at the field day, which took place in Bihar, India. Participants highlighted the role of the Initiative in enhancing biodiversity, empowering farmers and improving livelihood security. They also noted the benefits of greater diversity and expanded options, with some varieties providing more outputs over a shorter duration. According to Bioversity, shorter duration seed varieties can help farmers to minimize risks from climatic variations in rainfall and seasons, such as weak monsoon seasons or sudden heat spikes. Seed varieties with different flowering and harvesting times can also help to minimize risk from climate-induced weather changes and impacts.
Bioversity International also held a series of training workshops on seed selection and production in 15 villages in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Seeds for Needs scientists trained farmers on how to save and produce seeds. By producing seeds, farmers can expand their income sources and share seed diversity, among other benefits. The Initiative also trained farmers on management techniques to improve yields, such as recognizing ‘off-types,' individual plants that underperform in comparison with their counterparts.
The Seeds for Needs Initiative has used a crowdsourcing approach to expand its farmer network in India. It now has over 5000 farmers in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh that are conducting seed trials on their farms and providing feedback on the performance of different seeds.