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< prev - next > Agriculture Seed supply and storage KnO 100027_Seed fair (Printable PDF)
Seed fairs
Practical Action
Seed Fair Prizes
Seed fair prizes can either be cash or farm inputs such as seed packs, implements such as
ploughs and wheelbarrows. These can be sourced through community contributions, cash and
material donations from NGOs and local business people.
Stakeholder Participation
The community invites stakeholders at their own discretion and these invitations are usually
dependent on the invitee’s possible input to the seed security of the community. Stakeholders
whose participation may add value include local government structures (local authorities
councils and administrators), extension support agencies both government and private sector,
research institutions, development and relief agencies, funding agencies, farmer groups,
individual farmers from both within and outside the locality.
Seed voucher system
In some areas/countries a seed voucher system has
been linked to seed fairs and this has been used
mainly in emergency or relief situations for agricultural
recovery purposes. Instead of giving out free seed,
farmers are given vouchers with a specific value, which
they exchange for seed at a seed fair. The vouchers are
later redeemed for cash at the end of the fair.
Vouchers can be distributed in a specialised relief
system to the needy or most vulnerable as identified
by the community itself or they can be open to
everyone where the aid is open.
Different crop types and seed varieties can be
purchased at the fair and individual vendors who may
include farmers, small-scale traders, large seed
companies may offer either local traditional varieties or
modern certified varieties. Instead of providing seed
for recovery purposes, farmers are able to choose the
variety and quality of seed they want.
The seed voucher system has been introduced by such
organisations as the Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
and Save the Children in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda,
Sudan, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Figure 4: Seed varieties including swan
necked sorghum. Photo: Practical Action / Patrick
Advantages of the seed voucher system
In addition to the advantages of a conventional seed fair mentioned earlier there are other
advantages of a seed voucher system:
In addition to supporting the affected communities with seed, a seed voucher system
injects emergency funds directly into the affected communities rather than at the central
level or importing seed.
Emergency funds are invested directly in disaster areas and this will revitalise local
businesses and the local economy.
The system promotes both certified hybrid seed and locally produced seed.
The participation of commercial seed producers introduces new varieties, which increase
the region’s genetic diversity.
Farmers purchase seed of their preferred varieties.
Farmers use their own judgement to judge the seed quality.
The vouchers are cost effective, simple to implement, monitor and evaluate.