A citizen science approach to provide improved seeds to 1.3 million Ethiopian farmers
New seeds need to be tested, but often the space and funds for testing are limited. This is especially important given that adaptation to a changing climate is needed urgently within the agricultural sector. A crowd-sourced, citizen science approach, the “tricot method,” provides a cost-effective solution.
A Bilateral Ethiopian-Netherlands Effort for Food, Income and Trade Partnership (BENEFIT) report stated:
Crowdsourcing approach demonstrated to be rapid means to deploy a large number of new and improved varieties cost-effectively to farmers."
CCAFS and Bioversity International supported Integrated Seed Sector Development Ethiopia (ISSD Ethiopia) to implement this method. Around 6,000 farmers were trained in trial formats at 60 farmer training centers. Subsequently, these farmers undertook field trials and shared seeds with others to create seed demand, affecting an estimated 1.3 million farmers.
This project placed specific emphasis on gender. Accordingly, 53% of the farmers targeted were women. This focus positively contributed to implementation, as it helped bring attention to specific traits of crop varieties that are important on the market, such as color, aroma, taste and nutrition, process- and cook-ability, and kernel weight.
Bioversity International, ISSD Ethiopia, Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR)