Title: Saving seeds, securing biodiversity, and sustaining rural livelihoods in the Irrawaddy Delta
ECHO Inc.– Asia Regional Impact Center
ECHO Asia will support and encourage one of its local network members in the Irrawady region of Myanmar that has expressed a desire for establishing several community-level seedbanks. Through the implementation of 2 appropriate technology seedbanks, training of local seed bank managers, farmer field days, a 2-day workshop, and a seed bank manager exchange, it is feasible to expect that a number of locally inspired seed-saving networks could become a reality in the Delta of Myanmar and beyond. These seed-banking networks, using the physical structures of these low-cost facilities as storage hubs, along with farmer-to-farmer and institutional training could prove to be crucial in farmers’ ability to reduce the costs of buying seeds year after year, contribute significantly to the preservation of locally relevant crop species, and increase the agroecological biodiversity of their current and future cropping systems.
Localization: the Kahelu Small Farm Resource Center and the CSSDD (Christian Social Services and Development Division- the relief and development arm of PMA) center in Pathein, Myanmar.
- Project Initiation – a 1-week Seedbank Manager exchange program between project sites and established ECHO Asia Seedbank, Mai Ai, Thailand – training topics will include soil management, soil health, bed preparation, IPM, companion planting, diversification, crop selection, plant health, seed harvesting, seed cleaning, seed drying, seed storage, and seed management systems
- Two appropriate technology, low-cost earth-bag seedbanks will be built on the sites of the Kahelu Cetner and the PMA headquarters in Pathein.
- Implementation of seed storage bunkers, buried cistern systems, and various appropriate seed storage methods will be tested and compared for their ability to store seeds over time in the Tropics.
- 6-months into the project, ECHO Asia Seed Bank staff will visit the project site to provide oversight, help initiate research, and conduct a 1-day farmer field day, and seed-swap for farmers and 2-day workshop and seed swap for other NGO, governmental, and local community leaders throughout the Delta and Myanmar.
- Local farming communities will be enabled to contribute their crop varieties for storage and dissemination, and will also be encouraged to save their crop seeds at the farm-level.
- One-year into the project, ECHO Asia staff will travel to Myanmar to help with any other follow-up needs as well as conduct Monitoring and Evaluation and gauge local impact.
Budget granted by ALiSEA: 9,986 $