Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)
 


Emergency relief seed: constraining or facilitating local seed industries?
6 November 2006
Dr Wynand J van der Walt

Acknowledgements: FANRPAN acknowledges the SeedQuest Forum as the source for this information: www.seedquest.com/forum/v/VanDerWaltWynand/06nov.htm


A study commissioned by the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) shows that the recommendations in the FAO report have not been adequately implemented. Relief seed in different guises has become a seed business unto itself with positive spin-offs for some stakeholders, negative consequences for others, while having different impacts on member states in Southern Africa.

Persistent food and seed insecurities in Sub-Saharan Africa are normally blamed on droughts and floods, as though the region never has normal seasons. Relief seed donations have become a fixed element in seed trade. We should all agree that food security is dependent upon seed security, but food shortages do not necessarily mean that there was not enough seed. The problem is more complex than that.

Lack of adequate seed supplies during emergency situations and efforts to improve food production by subsistence farmers have been addressed for many decades by way of relief seed handouts. This may take the form of seed or combination packs of seed, fertilizer and pesticides, free or partly subsidized, and distributed directly by governments or NGOs, or through a voucher system. Whatever system used and however noble the intentions, the problem of endemic seed shortages has not been resolved in over 40 years.

For more information: www.seedquest.com/forum/v/VanDerWaltWynand/06nov.htm

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