Community Seed Bank
Availability of quality seed plays a vital role in agriculture development. Seed is the basic input and carrier of genetic potentiality of crop plants to perform best in a given conditions of agro- ecology and use of the external resources. Situation of seed sector development it is not encouraging in Nepal. In modern agriculture seed is valued for genetic potential to satisfy human needs for higher yield, nutritive qualities and resistant to external shocks. Numbers of crop varieties released in Nepal so far is relatively higher but rate of adopting of these varieties are extremely low. Seed replacement rate in Nepal for cereal crops are estimated at about 6%. Either these varieties do not meet the need and interest of the farmers or extension system remained weak to bring these varieties to the farmers. In our context, both factors are playing crucial role for slower adoption of new and improved varieties. On the other hand, traditional land races which play a vital role in the food security of the subsistence farmers are vanishing at the faster rate. There is need to work with the farmer community to conserve agro-biodiversity, ensuring food security and developing a sustainable agriculture.
To address these challenges in the light of improving agriculture systems of the poor, marginalized and subsistence farmers, Government of Nepal through Budget Speech of 2065/66 fiscal year has spelled out for establishing Community Seed Bank to improve access of quality seeds to the farmers. In a recent speech (2065/10/12) by honorable Prime Minister, he has committed to set up Community Seed Bank to benefit poor, marginalized and subsistence farmers. To respond these challenges regarding production and use of the quality seeds, this operational guideline has been prepared to set up Community Seed Bank in Nepal.
Just like money is stored in a bank account until it is needed, seeds are stored in a seed bank until they are needed. For example, they might be needed after crops fail due to drought, insect damage or disease. A community seed bank is collection of seeds and stored community storage house. Community Seed Bank (CSB) usually store seed from a wide range of individuals, informal groups and NGOs who share seed among themselves. Seed is primarily retained from participants’ own production with no formal quality control, but individual selection process and handling skills are involved. More recently, some community seed banks have been set up in partnership with the formal sector - chiefly plant breeding research institutes (Lewis and Mulvany, 1997). Community Seed Bank in Nepal has been initiated in Bara district in the initiative of NARC and LI-BIRD to enhance access, exchange, use and management of locally valuable, unique and endangered genetic resources.
Main objective of CSB is to enhance access, exchange, use and management of quality seeds of FVs and MVs according to the preferences and choice of the farmers which are produced, processed and stored locally in a community undertaking. Main beneficiaries of CSB will be poor, subsistence and marginalized farmers.
Specific objectives of CSB are:
Community seed bank establishment program is started from 2065/066 in three districts Dadeldhura, Sindhupalchwok and Okhaldhunga as pilot districts and now from the fiscal year 2068/69 B.S., it is extended to two other districts, Gulmi nad Jajarkot.