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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Horticulture

Project video


Photo slideshow of the project, or view the photos on Flickr.

Strengthening Indigenous Informal Seed Systems in Southeast Asia

Target Countries: Thailand, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam

Principal Investigator: Ricky M. Bates, The Pennsylvania State University


Project Description

Informal seed systems provide access to locally-adapted indigenous crops and constitute an essential component of sustainable production for resource-poor farmers. Current efforts to identify, conserve, improve and disseminate this rich genetic resource are insufficient. Development of these locally valued crops will set the foundation for increased and improved production, marketing and profitability. This project increases the impact and reach of these informal seed systems locally and regionally. Specifically, we are forming an effective team that builds linkages between Northern Thailand hilltribe farmers, a local innovative seed bank, and extension training systems.

Establishment of this linkage will result in: 1) surveys of key indigenous crops and collection of local crop knowledge, 2) activities promoting emergence of an effective regional seed bank, including training of key personnel, 3) development of an indigenous seed system conference and seed exchange, 4) improved human and institutional capacity, strategically focused on entrepreneurial women. This project potentially gives farmers access to new varieties and locally-adapted crops, many of which are unavailable from commercial sources, develops value chains around key species, and results in regional distribution of important seed resources to less developed neighbor nations such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Fact sheet

Seed Germination Cabinet fact sheet