In Nepal, community seed banks have a long and rich history. Supported in particular by non-governmental organizations and more recently by government agencies, they can be found across the country from the lowland terai to the high hill areas and from east to west. The latest count puts the number of active community seed banks at 115.
Community seed banks maintain varieties of seeds for local use in farming systems for the direct benefit of a community. Seeds are stored, regenerated or multiplied and distributed to meet the needs of local farmers. It is an innovative practice that conserves local landraces while providing continuity to crop evolutionary processes and contributing to the food security of farming communities.
Exchanges among organizations working with community seed banks in Nepal revealed that there is a poor common understanding among practitioners and members of community seed banks about definition, goals, functions, approaches, and forms of governance. In light of these challenges, LI-BIRD, Bioversity International, Oxfam and national and international partners, organized a two-day workshop in Pokhara, Nepal, in June 2012. The workshop brought together 40 participants representing farmers, researchers, community seed bank practitioners, extension workers and national and international policy makers.
The proceedings of this workshop - Community Seed Banks in Nepal - Past, present, future - present the contribution of community seed banks to the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity.
The publication focuses on conceptual, practical and policy issues concerning the establishment and management of community seed banks. Lessons learned from the experiences in Nepal will be useful for community seed banks globally.
Download the publication here.