The main topics discussed were technical aspects of seed production and management aspects of local seed banks, both with the aim of ensuring that farmers have access to high-quality local seeds. The event was attended by around 80 people, including representatives of farmers’ organisations as well as staff from FAO, INTERTEAM and other development organisations.
Various contributions highlighted the relevance of local seeds. One producer was primarily concerned with preserving and propagating local seeds in order to ensure the continuous supply of a wide range of varieties. Another seed producer emphasized the important factor of producing good quality seed in order to achieve good yields. This is not only about professionalizing seed production, but also about optimal harvesting and storage.
A study carried out by SWISSAID showed that local maize and bean varieties are more adaptable and thus more resistant to climatic change. The study concludes that bean and maize yields from local seed are considerably higher than those from conventionally certified seed, and the iron and calcium content of local varieties also performs better. Nor were difficulties concealed, such as the risk of contamination from genetically modified seed in the case of maize. Participants agreed that the sustainability of local seed banks requires above all their internal strengthening and increased financial capitalisation.
The event concluded with a seed exchange where 80 different local varieties of beans, rice and maize could be exchanged.