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Gender and Farmer Managed Seed Systems in Zimbabwe


Practical Action works with local partners and rural communities across marginal rainfed areas of Manicaland and Matabeleland in Zimbabwe. In these communities, women are the proven stewards and custodians of locally adapted seeds, and their selection, diversification, and innovation via farmer managed seed systems (FMSS). Food security crops such as small grains and traditional legumes, promoted via FMSS, are better suited to achieving food systems resilience and food and nutrition security in the face of climate change than commercially oriented cash crops, especially in areas of medium to low rainfall. FMSS ensure plant genetic conservation, biodiversity, and preservation while utilizing and valuing the expertise and knowledge of women smallholder farmers. Further coordination is required between government, farmers’ organizations, civil society, and researchers to promote and support gender responsive FMSS which are critical to achieving thriving, sustainable, and inclusive agriculture-based rural economies.

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