Sekhukhune small scale farmers establish seed bank for traditional food plants
Small scale farmers who belong to the Phadima Agricultural Association in the Sekhukhune District of Limpopo have started a seed bank to preserve and increase their stock of traditional food plants.
On Wednesday, May 24, 2006,†the Association is celebrating this achievement with traditional dance and food and will be joined by government officials from the Fetakgomo and Makhuduthamaga Municipalities, traditional leaders from Seroka, Phasha and Mashabela and Sekhukhune Districts and extension officers from the departments of agriculture and welfare who have been working with members of the Association. Non-governmental organisations, such as, Biowatch South Africa, the African Biodiversity Network and Ecohope will also be there.
Biowatch South Africa and the African Biodiversity Network has been working with the Phadima Agricultural Association since 2003, assisting them with training in low-cost agricultural methods, to collect, store and multiply their indigenous seeds and exchange with similar small scale farmers within Sekhukhune and also Kwazulu Natal.
Seed saving has been a common practice among individual households. By establishing the seed bank, the Association aims to pool resources so that they increase their stock of traditional food seed varieties which do not need expensive fertilisers or pesticides to flourish. The Phadima Agricultural Associationís projects are in six community gardening projects - Manganeng, Maila Mapitsane, Diphagane, Mapheke, Seroka, Mohlaletse and most of the active members are women and people with disabilities. Phadima farmers will also host farmers from the KwaNgwanase Farmersí Organisation (KFO) in Kwazulu Natal. This is part of an ongoing programme of exchange visits between farmers of the two organisations. Farmers from the KFO will attend the opening of the seed bank and visit community projects in Gaseroka, Gamaila and Elandskraal.
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