Nyando Community Seed Bank will launch in Kenya on September 5, 2019 to preserve biological diversity and boost the resilience of food systems and agricultural livelihoods facing a changing climate.

Climate change poses a serious and ever-growing threat to the food and nutrition security of resource-poor farmers globally. In East Africa in particular, levels of food insecurity and undernourishment remain high and could be worsened by climate change. Agricultural production rates are low and are estimated to drop on average by 22% by 2050, condemning farmers who are already struggling to feed their families throughout the year deeper into poverty traps and malnutrition. These challenges are being addressed through the project, “Open Source Seed Systems for Climate Change Adaptation” being implemented in Nyando, Kenya; Hoima, Uganda; and Hombolo and Singida in Tanzania. It has three main adaptation strategies:

  • Introduction; testing and evaluation of genetic diversity; and dissemination of varieties of sorghum, millet and beans for climate change adaptation
  • Capacity enhancement for in-situ conservation through community seed banking  
  • Creating enabling policy environment for access and benefit sharing (ABS), local seed system development and conservation

Bioversity International together with partners from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in East Africa, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) - Genetic Resources Research Institute -GeRRI, Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management Africa (SANREM Africa), HIVOS East Africa, Uganda’s National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), and Tanzania’s Plant Genetic Resources Center (TPGRC) have been implementing the three strategic adaptation strategies in the four sites in East Africa. 

On the September 5, 2019 partners will be launching the new seed bank in Nyando basin of western Kenya. The launch will be preceded by a two-day training on seed business management to area farmers which will take place on the 3rd and 4th of September 2019. The event will also bring together farmers from Seed Savers’ network in Nakuru county, farmers from Vihiga county and partner farmers from Uganda and Tanzania respectively who will be competing in a seed fair on the 5th of September.

The event will have representatives from Kericho and Kisumu County governments, members of County Assembly, the private sector, farmers, and local administration, officials from the European Union (EU), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the Nertherlands Embassy.

The project on “Open Source Seed Systems for Climate Change Adaptation” is funded by the FAO and the EU through the Benefit Sharing Fund of the ITPGRFA.