Seed Fairs

Seed fairs are a mechanism for enabling trade, exchange and sharing of propagation material among farmers, as well as creating market linkages to improve the availability of locally produced seed to farmers. Although Seed Fairs have been used quite frequently throughout the region in humanitarian situations, vouchers have been used for payments for seeds to commercial suppliers rather than local producers. This approach encourages exchange for local producers.  Seed fairs enable evaluation of the level of germplasm diversity within the area and to assess and monitor the genetic erosion as well as increase seed availability before the next cropping season.

SAMP assists farmers to organise, and provide training in the proper management of these seed fairs. Curently Zaka farmers lack experience in this area and capacity building is needed to introduce farmers to the seed fair concept as well as implementation aspects. Farmers get trained in simple seed packaging, cleaning as well as seed selection. Interested and capable farmers are selected to be part of a Seed Fair Organising Committee (which also include members from AGRITEX) and form ward clusters which areresponsible for organising the fairs. Any farmer with good quality material (judged by the Seed Fair Committee) is free to sell her/his material. Publicising of the days and venues is done by AGRITEX with the assistance of the Seed Fair Organizing committee. Women are particularly encouraged to participate in the Seed Fair Committees. Barter trade is allowed too, there by alleviating the need to have cash.