Emergency vegetable seed interventions: Can we expect improved nutrition and income generation among beneficiaries?
This report (PDF) by Seed System examines whether vegetable seed interventions lead to better family nutrition and help families generate income during a crisis.Vegetable seed is most often supplied in areas of chronic insecurity and persistent drought. Nutrition goals are often more explicit in vegetable seed interventions than income goals, however, farmers often aim for both gains. While vegetable seed interventions were always done with conjunction with other project activities; however, it was not always clear how these activities formed a consistent approach to improve income or nutrition. Some organizations were more thoughtful at encouraging nutritional outcomes than others. Providing nutrition education and cooking demonstrations was recognized to give nutritional benefits. The projects were not in the habit of providing evidence of advancement in nutrition income goals. The article states that it still does not know if and how vegetable seed interventions impact beneficiaries’ nutritional status and income in either the short or long term. More data is needed on beneficiaries’ gardens, diets and incomes. When delivering a vegetable seed intervention, it is recommended to ensure that the situation non the ground is appropriate for a vegetable intervention. Farmers need to have access to land to grow crops and have basic agricultural inputs. Furthermore, conduct a vegetable seed system assessment to determine if vegetable seed access is poor and what the barriers are to access seed, before deciding to supply seeds. From the beginning, plan for a project in farmers want to attain nutrition and income goals, including measuring impact of small-scale vegetable selling. Vegetable seed deliveries should be incorporated into a broader nutritional strategy. The seed basket should be selected strategically to maximize nutritional value and income. Lastly, trainings should be designed to boost nutrition and income returns from the garden.