Major role for minor seeds
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CTA. 1999. Major role for minor seeds. Spore 81. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48443
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore81.pdf
12-day study visit of seed experts and smallholder seed growers to Zimbabwe in February 1999
Smallholders play a key role in sustaining seed supply systems, alongside the formal seed sector. This is one of the observations made during a 12-day study visit of seed experts and smallholder seed growers to Zimbabwe in February 1999. Organised by CTA, in collaboration with the Zimbabwean Ministry of Lands and Agriculture, the visit gave the 18 visitors from Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and other parts of Zimbabwe a chance to acquaint themselves with the many aspects of seed supply in the host country. In Zimbabwe, the formal sector ensures seed security for commercial crops of maize, soybean, and wheat; it even exports seeds to regional markets. However, many communal farmers cultivate small marginal plots unsuited to these crops. They often grow subsistence crops such as millet, sorghum, cowpea, and open-pollinated varieties of maize. For them, the tried and tested source is the informal sector, which supplies seeds for 90% of the crops in Zimbabwe and sometimes close to 100% of the crops in the countries of the visiting group. A more encouraging attitude towards the informal sector on the part of policy and financial bodies would allow better organisation and bring more resources. The group felt that with this support, the community and smallholder groups could play a key role in seed multiplication, storage and distribution: a message that will be sown far and wide after the study visit. For further reading Seed supply systems in developing countries. N P Louwaars and G A M Marrewijk 1996. 144 pp. ISBN 92 90811471 CTA-Agricultural University Wageningen CTA No. 768, 20 credit points