Bioversity International's 'Seeds for Needs' initiative works with >45,000 smallholder farmers in 14 countries to research how agricultural biodiversity can minimize the risks associated with climate change. The concept is simple – if farmers have better information and access to a wide range of varieties, they are more able to choose what best suits their conditions and cope with unpredictable weather.
We focus on deploying existing diversity to farmers from wherever it is found, whether in genebanks, plant breeding programmes or in their own fields. The farmers we work with are 'citizen scientists, evaluating and selecting varieties, and providing valuable feedback' on their preferred traits that helps inform priorities in breeding programmes.
“Earlier we used to have only a few choices in wheat and rice farming. Through Seeds for Needs, we came to know how many types are available for our use and some of them are really performing better than our regular ones” says an Indian farmer participating in the research.