Monday, June 23, 2008

Village Support Group establishes a Community Seed Bank

The IHFS project has been distributing improved varieties of seed such as maize, groundnuts, pigeon peas, soya, cassava and sweet potatoes. This initative is meant to assist groups of 50 targeted poor and vulnerable households, to access a variety of improved crops to increase production and food security.

This year members of Mulunguzi VSG in Nkando, Mulanje have organized themselves to have a seed revolving and solidarity chain so that they continue to share the seed among themselves, even after the project phases out. This is a positive sign towards sustainability and independence of the group. Instead of them waiting to be supplied with more seed next year, the group members have agreed to pay back 2 kgs of each of the seed that was received. The seed is kept in an improved granary. The project has trained the group in post harvest handling and crop storage. This seed will be distributed to other members of the group who may not have harvested enough this year to be able to store enough seed. Excess seed after re-distributing among the members of the group will go to other equally poor households in the community that are not in the group. This is a multiplier effect for the project, because the seed that was meant for the group of 50 will not reach others outside of this group, such that the improved crop varieties that are being promoted will spread within the community. The project is promoting this initiative for other group to emulate this example.

Author: Thokozani Mwapasa

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