"As the global community is called to re-examine its relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few."
Convention on Biological Diversity on the occasion of the
International Day for Biological Diversity
From the Terai plains to the hills and mountainous regions of Nepal, the loss of agrobiodiversity has contributed to major changes in agricultural livelihoods, agroecosystems and biocultural landscapes that have evolved over centuries. Food and seed security is under threat. Can community-based approaches to the management of agricultural biodiversity provide the answer?
One such approach, that has a long history in Nepal, is establishing and using community seedbanks managed by local farming families and communities. The institutions' core function is to maintain and supply quality seeds and planting material for local use, but they can also facilitate community development and income-generating activities and collaboration with other organizations, such as extension agencies and the national genebank.
“The people had forgotten about many local varieties but thanks to our community seedbanks, these seeds are available once again. People have learned the importance of cultivating these varieties. Knowledge and skills of seed production and seed handling have been increased and practices such as vermicompost and farmyard manure improvement technologies, which use less chemicals, have been promoted, leading to producing healthier food."
Naramaya Karki, a member of the Shivagunj Community Seed Bank, Nepal