Embracing diversity: inputs for a strategy to support ...· Embracing diversity: inputs for a strategy

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  • Report of field visits to Limpopo and Eastern CapeRonnie Vernooy, Bhuwon Sthapit, Thabo TjikanaAngeline Dibiloane, Nkat Maluleke and Tovhowani Mukoma

    Embracing diversity: inputs for a strategy to support community seedbanks in South Africas smallholder farming areas

  • Embracing diversity: inputs for a strategy to support

    community seedbanks in South Africas smallholder

    farming areas

    Report of field visits to Limpopo and Eastern Cape

    Ronnie Vernooy and Bhuwon Sthapit

    Bioversity International

    with

    Thabo Tjikana, Angeline Dibiloane, Nkat Maluleke and Tovhowani Mukoma

    Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Republic of South Africa

  • Bioversity International is a world leading research-for-development non-profit

    organization, working towards a world in which smallholder farming communities in

    developing countries are thriving and sustainable. Bioversitys purpose is to investigate the

    use and conservation of agricultural biodiversity in order to achieve better nutrition, improve

    smallholders livelihoods and enhance agricultural sustainability. Bioversity International

    works with a global range of partners to maximize impact, to develop capacity and to

    ensure that all stakeholders have an effective voice.

    Bioversity International is part of the CGIAR, which works to reduce hunger, poverty and

    environmental degradation in developing countries by generating and sharing relevant

    agricultural knowledge, technologies and policies. This research, focused on development,

    is conducted by a Consortium of 15 CGIAR centres working with hundreds of partners

    worldwide and supported by a multi-donor Fund. The research documented in this report

    contributes to the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets

    (http://www.pim.cgiar.org/). This program is led by IFPRI, a member of the CGIAR.

    The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is a national sphere of the

    South African government responsible for implementing the laws and policies decided by

    the South African parliament. It specifically derives its core mandate from section 27 (1) (b)

    and (2) of the South African Constitution which is to: .take reasonable legislative and

    other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of

    the.right (of everyone) to have access to sufficient food. Within the DAFF and more

    specifically the Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety Branch of the DAFF, the

    Directorate Genetic Resources is mandated to regulate and provide an integrated national

    management system in support of the conservation and sustainable use of genetic

    resources for food and agriculture. This involves the development and implementation of

    policies, legislation, strategies and norms and standards on the management of genetic

    resources for food and agriculture, the regulation and promotion of propagating material of

    genetic resources for food and agriculture and to provide for a risk mitigating system in

    support of agricultural biodiversity.

  • Citation: Vernooy, R., Sthapit, B., Tjikana, T., Dibiloane, A., Maluleke, N. and Mukoma, T.

    2013. Embracing diversity: inputs for a strategy to support community seedbanks in South

    Africas smallholder farming areas. Report of field visits to Limpopo and Eastern Cape.

    Bioversity International, Rome, Italy and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries,

    Pretoria, Republic of South Africa.

    ISBN 978-92-9043-967-7

    Acknowledgements

    This study was commissioned and financed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and

    Fisheries of the Government of the Republic of South Africa. We thank Natalie Feltman,

    Scientific Manager, Plant Genetic Resources, Directorate of Genetic Resources, for her

    technical support to this project and Evelyn Clancy, Bioversity International, for editing this

    report.

    Front cover (at the Mutale seed fair) and inside photos: Ronnie Vernooy.

    Bioversity International 2013

    Bioversity Headquarters

    Via dei Tre Denari 472/a

    00057 Maccarese (Fiumicino) Rome, Italy

    Tel. (39-06) 61181

    Fax. (39-06) 61979661

    bioversity@cgiar.org

  • Contents

    1. Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 1

    Background of the study ..................................................................................................... 1 Research questions ............................................................................................................. 1 Sites .................................................................................................................................... 2 Schedule, methodology and tools ...................................................................................... 2

    2. Findings from Mutale, Limpopo .......................................................................................... 5

    Mutale seed fair ................................................................................................................... 5 Gumbu village: The rains have not come for too long ..................................................... 5 Interviews with women farmers of Gumbu village .............................................................. 7 Phalama village ................................................................................................................... 8 Manenzhe village ................................................................................................................. 9

    3. Findings from Sterkspruit, Eastern Cape .......................................................................... 11

    Sterkspruit seed fair .......................................................................................................... 11 Crop diversity in the villages 2F ........................................................................................... 11 Trend analysis ................................................................................................................... 13 Four cell analysis in the villages ........................................................................................ 14 Seed network analyses in the villages .............................................................................. 16

    4. Synthesis of findings ......................................................................................................... 18

    5. Recommendations ............................................................................................................ 20

    Annex 1: Results of survey of eight custodian farmers in Limpopo ..................................... 22

    Annex 2: Results of survey of twelve custodian farmers in Sterkspruit ................................ 25

    Resources ............................................................................................................................. 28

    Methods and tools ............................................................................................................ 28 Concepts and approaches ................................................................................................ 28 Policies and laws ............................................................................................................... 29

    About the authors ................................................................................................................. 30

    Table 1: Field research activities and participatory tools used

    Table 2: Four cell analysis in Gumbu village

    Table 3: Four cell analysis in Phalama village

    Table 4: Crop diversity trend analysis in Sterkspruit

    Table 5: Four cell analysis in Ndofela

    Table 6: Four cell analysis in Qhobosane, Sjorha and Rockville

    Table 7: Four cell analysis in Dangerhoek

    Table 8: Assessment of the viability of a community seedbank (CSB) in three considered

    sites

  • 1

    1. Introduction

    Background of the study

    As in many other countries, South Africas smallholder seed systems are increasingly

    coming under pressure. Factors such as drought, crop failure, difficult storage conditions

    and poverty are having a negative impact on both the quantity of seed and the number of

    plant varieties available to farmers. In addition, as a result of agricultural modernization,

    farmers are increasingly purchasing more of their seed requirements and loosing traditional

    knowledge and skills of selection and seed storage. In order to turn the tide, community

    seedbanks are considered by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)

    of the Government of the Republic of South Africa as a means to strengthen the informal

    seed systems, support conservation of traditional farmer varieties and maintain seed

    security at district and community levels.

    The Departmental Strategy on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Genetic Resources for

    Food and Agriculture proposes, among other focus areas, both ex situ and in situ

    conservation of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA). South Africa

    has a well developed ex situ conservation facility, namely the National Plant Genetic

    Resources Centre (NPGRC), where accessions of plant material are maintained. The

    mandate of NPGRC has recently been extended to also include community seedbanks as a

    strategy to