OF IMPROVED, OPEN-
These technical guidelines explain some of the methods
that can be used in seed multiplication. The guidelines
may be used by a community group, private company or
secondary processor. Steps and options for community-
based seed multiplication techniques required are
outlined. These guidelines are a result of various
scientific experiments and experiences with
communities in semi arid areas of Matabeleland South
Province. Lessons from this province resulted in the
production of these technical guidelines - to enhance
the capacity of smallholder farmers and service support
institutions in semi arid areas to strengthen sustainable
community - based seed selection, production and
These technical guidelines are therefore aimed at
offering a practical set of tools in strengthening the
technical capacity of both practicing farmers and field facilitators working with grassroots people in
participatory technology development, mostly focusing on seed resources development for improved
food and livelihoods security.
Knowledge gained from the guidelines should foster mutual learning by participants who are also
expected to draw on their own practical experiences. Also, knowledge and skills gained from this
guide should put farmers and development work facilitators in a way that challenges and influences
the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of future development programmes at
different levels for the benefit of all.
The technical guidelines were developed and produced through wide consultations with partners
and stakeholders involved in Practical Action Southern Africa's project on Enhancing Food and
Livelihoods Security of Vulnerable Communities in Drought prone Areas of Zimbabwe being
implemented in Gwanda, Matobo, Bulilima and Mangwe Districts of Matebeleland South Province.
Practical Action Southern Africa hopes that these technical guidelines will become a useful
resource fro smallholder farmers and development workers involved in community-based seed
multiplication schemes in the region.
Introduction and background
Sub-Saharan African continues to suffer from food deficits and poverty largely due to lack of
adequate agricultural inputs, among other constraints. In Zimbabwe, nearly 70 per cent of the
population lives in rural areas and is highly dependant on agriculture for survival.
Most of the communal farmers have abandoned traditional crop varieties in favour of improved
hybrids. The demend for hybrid seed in communal areas had grown to an extent that 80 per cent of
hybrid maize seed, for example, was being bought by this sector in any given season by 1994.
Howeever the hyper inflationary environment experienced in Zimbabwe since tehe late 90s has
resulted in seed and fertiliser prices escalating beyond the reach of most smallholder farmers,
causing a decline in maize produced by this sector.
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