Informal seed systems provide access to locally adapted indigenous crops and constitute an essential component of sustainable production for resource-poor farmers. Development of these locally valued crops will set the foundation for increased and improved production, marketing and profitability. This project increases efforts to identify, conserve, improve and disseminate this rich genetic resource.
This international project team, led by Ricky Bates of Penn State, increases the impact and reach of these informal seed systems locally and regionally. Specifically, the team builds linkages between Northern Thailand hilltribe farmers, a local innovative seed bank, and extension training systems.
This linkage includes surveying key indigenous crops and collecting local crop knowledge. Project activities promote a regional seed bank, including training of key personnel and development of an indigenous seed system conference and seed exchange. The project also strategically focuses capacity building activities on entrepreneurial women.
This project seeks to give 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.