Bioversity Releases Seeds for Needs East Africa Poster
April 2014: Bioversity International has released ‘Seeds for Needs in East Africa,' a poster from its Seeds for Needs projects in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The poster describes the project's background, activities, results and future steps.
Seeds for Needs project activities in East Africa include creating an atlas of crop suitability, conducting diversity assessments and testing germplasm's suitability for climate change adaptation. The project has also modeled: crop stability and yield outcomes using variable weather scenarios; household crop income under different diversification approaches; and potential for disease and pests under different climate models.
Seed uses and preferences vary across age, class and gender, according to the results of the project assessment of farmers' adaptation and risk management strategies. Farmers reported shifting to different crops and varieties as one coping strategy to deal with the effects of climate change, including less predictable rainfall and more frequent droughts. In Tanzania, for example, farmers said they plant finger millet and sorghum because they believe it is more drought tolerant.
In the future, Seeds for Needs will continue to test the adaptability of different crop varieties, with the aim of better understanding adaptation options for diversifying East Africa's smallholder farming systems. Planned activities include: developing adaptation and risk management strategies for major crops in the region; promoting farm diversity as an adaptation strategy; identifying ways smallholder farmers can link to markets and engage in existing value chains; using innovative approaches and technologies to enhance farmer access to locally adapted seeds; and establishing community seed banks that are linked to national genebanks.