Promoting crop genetic diversity, social interdependence, adaptability and autonomy are important topics to empower smallholders farmers. This course brings state-of-the-art strategies in managing crop genetic resources and building resilient seed systems for sustainable food security and reducing climatic risks.
Why resilient seed systems?
Increasing stresses on agricultural systems have resulted in an intensification of the use of natural resources for agricultural production. Many have risen concerns on the future of food and nutrition security, especially for smallholder farmers and their communities. The actual seed systems appear not sustainable if we are to feed more than 9 billion people in 2050. For agriculture to be sustainable, new approaches in seed systems ought to transit from conservation towards resilience.
An integrated approach: resilient seed systems
The challenge is not to maintain the status quo of a particular system, but to make it more amenable to deal with stresses and shocks of different nature. To achieve this a much better understanding is required of the processes that make seed systems operate effectively or not, especially in what concern individual and collective decision-making capacity of farmers. This can be done by increasing the access to useful knowledge and information, creating opportunities to learn about (new) crops and crop varieties that fit local agricultural conditions, building new or expanding existing relationships to exchange seeds and related knowledge, and through participation in community and higher level decision-making processes related to seeds.
From a research and development point of view, it requires a holistic, dynamic and participatory approach that supports farmers to understand and implement the principles of a resilient seed system, fosters collective action and catalyses innovation.
Upon completion of the course you will:
- Be familiar with contemporary approaches towards crop conservation and sustainable use of plan and genetic resource for food and agriculture (PGRFA);
- Know the conceptual framework of resilient seed systems, its components and practices;
- Be able to identify opportunities in your local context to integrate resilient seed systems and food security in implementation strategies
- Learn mechanism and procedure for acquiring (new) planting material;
- Designing a successful intervention for resilient seed systems and food security;
- Linking ex-situ conservation (seed conserved in a genebank) with on-farm management of PGRFA through a community seed bank, seed fairs, diversity blocks);
- Learn about supportive policies and laws boosting seed systems towards resilience.
The training is designed for public, civil, research, education and/or development professionals woking in a range of a relevant programmes. Applicants should have at least a BSc degree, have three years of professional experience in a relevant field, and be proficiency in English.