Read full article By Gloria Otieno & Tobias Recha @ Alliance Bioversity Photo Credit: CIAT/T. Recha
“The first time I was here was in 2013, we came to find out the number and types of beans and millet varieties you had. The journey has been long in finding new varieties that farmers can use for climate change adaptation. I’m now grateful that the journey has reached a point where we can see farmers having varieties within their seedbanks and homes both for climate change adaptation and for their nutrition.” said Dr. Gloria Otieno.
During this event Dr. Gloria Otieno and Tobias Recha of the Alliance presented the seed catalogues to farmers from all the districts and discussed in detail the useful attributes of each variety and its contribution to both food and nutrition security. The catalogues were also presented to NARO breeder Dr. Ronald Kakeeto who had guided the PVS process with farmers.
The Managing Director of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT Suzanne Ngo-Eyok was also in attendance and reiterated the importance of the event for farmers especially in ensuring the exchange of seeds and related knowledge for climate change adaptation and food security.
“We started this program here in 2016 to look at seed exchange and conservation through farmers’ participation. Through the years, the number of farmers and partners went beyond the borders of Hoima district and increased collaborations through other regions and countries like Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda where through the FAO Treaty, we have encouraged exchange of genetic resources to make sure that there are materials that come from different countries to address the impairment to growth and agricultural cultivation in this region. The agricultural productivity constraints were linked to food insecurity, drought and changing seasons, and unreliability of the weather. Our aim was to increase ability to not only grow different varieties from different regions but increase the resilience and productivity of agriculture in the farming communities.” explained Suzanne Ngo-Eyok.
The successful implementation of the project activities demonstrates the interdependence of countries for access to genetic resources for climate change adaptation. The launch of the seed catalogues has paved a way for further dialogues at policy level on how farmers can better benefit from the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing for a gene pool of materials they can use directly or through further breeding for climate change adaptation.
“I take this opportunity to appreciate our partners at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT for the good and developmental agricultural interventions they have brought to us. I also want to thank NARO for their role in partnering with us and linking the Alliance to us,” said Godfrey Kairagura, the community mobilizer and leader at Hoima Community Seed Bank. He concluded:
“We need to promote nutrition, and now we are able to plant different crops in small portions of our land like vegetables, beans, Finger millet, bananas etc., unlike just planting maize alone in a big area which is not good. We have also had exchange programs where we visited farmers in other regions including Kenya and we saw how they were benefiting from the programs of the Alliance. We discovered that farmers were not only harvesting a lot but also making a lot of money from selling the produce. Currently, we are also starting to benefit from these good seeds and are producing a lot of food. We are hoping to make money too.”