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Agriculture stakeholders back seed saving to improve food security

Indigenous seeds. PHOTO | Ronald Owili

Kenya could see a significant improvement in its food security efforts by encouraging indigenous seed saving practices among smallholder farmers across the country.

According to Seed Savers Network Kenya Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Dominic Kimani the initiative has seen farmers improve their farm yield as well as reduce spending on purchasing indigenous seed varieties.

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“As an organization we train farmers on how to select and save their own seeds so that they have quality seeds for the next planting season and we have seen this improving their productivity and also diversification on their farms,” said Kimani.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Indigenous Seed and Culture Harvest Fair held in Nairobi, Kimani said equipping farmers with seed saving techniques has also helped farmers become resilient amid climate change and improve their income as a result of quality crop yield.

Kenya’s low food crop production to meet annual needs is partly attributed to limited availability of indigenous seeds, low number of varieties and high prices.

“The idea of farmers having to buy seeds every time to grow crops is somehow a challenge because you find there are farmers who prefer not to plant because they do not have access to seeds and this intervention where we train them on how to save their seeds help in terms of solving the problem,” added Kimani.

Agnes Kamau, smallholder farmers in one of the beneficiary of the initiative says the adoption of modern seed saving techniques has also brought an extra income through sale of the indigenous seeds to other farmers.

“We came to this trade fair to sell and teach other farmers how to preserve these indigenous seeds. This also helps in increasing the number of the seeds in the country which also have a lot of health benefits,” said Kamau.

The Network says through development of indigenous seed banks, the farmers can access diverse planting materials and increase acreage under food crop cultivation to fortify the country’s food basket.

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