Seeds in times of climate change

A plant of hope

Dried out or washed away: Seeds have a hard time on the nutrient-poor soils in Niger. In times of climate change, it is therefore becoming increasingly important that sowing is resistant to extreme weather conditions. Local farmers have also recognised this. Their knowledge of the use of traditional seeds is a key element on the road to long-term food security. – translated with DeepL

Facts

Country, region:
Niger, Kiéché
Duration:
March 2020 - May 2023
Beneficiaries:
1348 women and 487 men
Total project budget:
349'072 CHF

Aims

The project increases the yields of small farming families. Thus, the livelihood of the population of the community of Kiéché is sustainably improved. Through agroecology, better adaptation to the effects of climate change is achieved. Particular focus is placed on rain-fed agriculture and vegetable growing. Studies on site have shown that these forms of agriculture are most suitable for the region.

Local seeds are of existential importance for people and the environment: small farmers use climate-adapted seed mixtures to produce a rich harvest. Families benefit from a balanced diet and a strengthened immune system. The soil becomes more resistant and richer in nutrients.

"Local" is the solution

The population of the community of Kiéché in Niger lives mainly from agriculture. Like many others in the region, they are defencelessly exposed to the increasingly destructive capers of the weather: torrential rainfall, droughts and pests are the order of the day. This results in crop failures and food insecurity for thousands of small farming families.

Thanks to traditional seeds, a plant of hope is now germinating in Kiéché. Clearly superior to industrial seeds, local seeds need less water and are more resistant. And thus solves several urgent problems at once.

Independence as a goal

Together with the rural population, SWISSAID is working to improve the value of farm seeds in Niger. The aim is to provide the population with a sustainable supply of basic foodstuffs. To this end, seeds and agricultural material are distributed in four vegetable-growing areas. During the first two years, local producers receive non-hybrid seeds. In the long term, the small farmers should be able to multiply the seeds and store them for future sowings. At the same time, they are trained in agro-ecological practices and learn how to meet the challenges of climate change.

From seed to harvest sale: the production chain of the entire project is autonomous. The local families benefit from increased yields and harvest surpluses are invested: In addition to their cultivated fields, the smallholder families can plant their own vegetable gardens, start a goat or chicken farm and invest in education.

In this way, hope and a future for an entire community grows from a small seed.