Climate resilient seeds Q&A

By Practical Action On 01.03.2021 Climate changeEnvironmentFarmingFood & agriculture

We previously posted an article covering how climate resilient seeds can help bring about huge change for farmers in Nepal as part of our ingenious five-point plan. Several of our amazing supporters got in touch to ask about the article, so we thought we’d create a Q&A to answer some of the questions you may have in regards to climate-resilient seeds:

  1. Where do you source the climate-resilient seeds from?

In this project we are focusing on vegetable productions. We use government-approved climate resilient seeds. For this, we co-ordinate with NARC (Nepal Agriculture Research Council), Agriculture and Forestry University (AFU) and AVDRC (Asian vegetable research and development centre).

  1. What do you mean by climate-resistant seeds? Do you advocate the use of agrochemicals?

Climate resilient seeds are seeds which can withstand extreme climatic conditions, brought about by climate change. These can be drought resilient seeds, flood resilient seeds and disease and pest resistant seeds.

  1. Do you advocate the use of agrochemicals?

Being specific to UK Aid Match project, we can use agrochemicals – but the important thing is it should be used wisely. The right amount, at the right time and at the right place. This means judicious use of chemicals which do not harm plants, soils, bodies of water or are dangerous to people in any way.

  1. When Practical Action say the seeds are “government-approved”, do you mean that the UK government approved the seeds and then coordinated with other governments?

“Government approved” seeds mean they are approved by Government of Nepal. There are also seeds available in the market which are not “government approved” especially in the rural areas. The seeds which are not “government approved” are not of good quality. They can have low germination rate, and yields are low. With this in mind, we want to make sure that if farmers are buying seeds, they only buy “government approved’ seeds.

  1. Do Practical Action encourage farmers to buy these seeds? I would have thought farmers would be able to select their own seeds rather than buy seeds they don’t need or use chemicals they don’t have to.

In UK Aid Match project we are working on these value chains: vegetable, vegetable seeds, mandarin, walnut and goat. Vegetable seeds is one of the value chains we work on. This means that we are supporting farmers to grow, save and use local seeds. We highly emphasize that farmers save and use their own local seeds. The local seeds do not require inputs like chemicals and irrigation. They hold high cultural, social and nutritional values as well. But all farmers might not be able to save and use local seeds or have access to local seeds. In this case, if they have to buy, we make sure that they buy “government approved” seeds only.

  1. Why should farmers in Nepal trust these seeds? Won’t they do more harm than good?

“Government approved” seeds are approved because they’re good quality. The Nepal Government has a separate department they used in order to approve the seeds this way –the Seed Quality and Control Centre under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development looks after seeds. Because these seeds are government-approved and are of good quality, they don’t do any harm to the land.