Our focus is on seed and food security.
Food security remains a critical development challenge around the world, in recent time accentuated and aggravated by the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, resulting in supply shortages of cereals and oil crops and skyrocketing prices on the world market. Countries heavily dependent on import of cereals and oil crops (from Russia and Ukraine, and elsewhere), among which countries in the Horn of Africa, are experiencing the pain. Prolonged drought in some parts of the world, including the Horn of Africa, is exacerbating the crisis.
For the Horn of Africa, the UNHCR predicts a sixth consecutive failed rainy season for March-May 2023. Food security depends on seed security, the timely access to good quality seed and other planting materials of preferred crops and crop varieties, of quantities needed and at an affordable price. Political and military conflicts and civil unrest not only affect food security, but also seed security as production, storage and distribution of seeds are temporarily or for longer periods disrupted, with fields abandoned or damaged and no or limited harvests, and supply chains interrupted or broken altogether.
The Horn of Africa is largely a seed insecure region. Formal seed systems often fail to reach farmers in such situations requiring development of informal- and intermediary seed systems, in which community seed banks play an important role. In addition, in protracted crisis situations, local communities struggle to adapt their food production systems in the face of recurrent droughts, floods and pest associated with climate change.