ECHOcommunity Conversations

Your Input Requested about Seed Saving in Southeast Africa


Hello from ECHO!

I have been contacted by a journalist based in Zimbabwe working on a story for Thomson Reuters Foundation on how smallholder farmers in Mozambique are reviving native seeds which they say are resistant to droughts.

He wants to do a story that will educate smallholder farmers in other countries in Africa on how to create seed banks and save native seeds for which are resistant to climate change-induced droughts. He would love your input.

If you are saving seeds in East Africa, could you let us know how farmers are responding to the initiative?



I’ve worked with some farmers that are saving seed in Africa, but not aware of this specific effort in Mozambique to revive native seeds that are resistant to drought. As a scientist that works with seed quality, seed storage, and developing improved cultivars in the US and Africa, I would be cautious about claims of older native seeds being better. Certainly there are benefits in saving native seeds that may be especially adapted to crop diseases, pests, etc. in specific regions, but be careful about implying that just because they are “native” that they are also drought resistant. If the native seed resulted from many years of selections by local farmers BEFORE climate change-induced droughts, then it doesn’t seem the native seed would be resistant to present day weather patterns? Hopefully groups like CIMMYT or ICRISAT might have science-based information on this topic? Just some thoughts for the reporter to consider.



Thanks, Floyd! I’ll pass it along!



I am native of Pakistan, currently residing in the US, born and raised in an arid, sandy, hot climate. The area used to have lot of greenery - trees and bushes but unfortunately locals cut everything about 50 years ago and sold it in cities. Now, the area is an environmental disaster. Chickpea is the only crop grown there, the harvest season used to start in June but due this desertification the harvest time now is April. I am trying introduce some trees and bushes in the area and exploring to obtain seeds for hot weather tolerant trees and bushes. I will be grateful if someone kindly send me some sources where I can get such information - like type of plants suitable for my area and where to obtain their seeds.


Inquiry concerning soil/plant options for Pakistan