The roles of community seed banks in climate change adaption
This article (PDF) in the journal Development in Practice argues that community seed banks can enhance the resilience of farmers, in particular of communities and households most affected by climate change. Although community level seed-saving initiatives have been around for about 30 years, until recently they have received little attention in the scientific literature on climate change adaptation and plant genetic resources. The various examples of community seed banks from this global review demonstrate that community seed banks are already carrying out major functions in terms of adaptation to climate change. Community seed banks can secure improved access to, and availability of, diverse, locally adapted crops and varieties, and enhance related indigenous knowledge and skills in plant management, including seed selection, treatment, storage, multiplication, and distribution. The Kiziba community seed bank in Uganda is a good example of the strategy of maximizing (bean) diversity to respond to climate change. Farmers have rediscovered the power of crop diversity not only to serve the multiple food security needs of the households and community, but also as a buffer in times of climate uncertainty and stress. Community seed banks also provide a platform for learning and exchange of knowledge and genetic resources, especially in times of climate change. In addition, some of them are becoming repositories for indigenous knowledge related to climate change adaptation, among others, through the use of community biodiversity registers.