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Seeds for Needs: Using crop diversity to adapt to climate change


With climatic uncertainty projected to increase in the future, agriculture and food security are more vulnerable than ever. Poor smallholder farming communities in the developing world will be hardest hit. These farmers need quick solutions – especially seeds able to thrive in a changing climate.


Diversification of crops and varieties is one way to give farmers more options in times of need. But farmers do not always have the right information or planting material available.


Seeds for Needs

Bioversity International's Seeds for Needs approach provides an effective and cost-efficient way improve and diversify smallholder seed systems through better information and access to a portfolio of adapted crops and varieties.

In 14 countries across Africa, Asia and Central America, more than 40,000 farmers have become citizen scientists evaluating and selecting varieties, providing critical feedback on the seeds that meet their needs.

The Seeds for Needs approach creates lasting solutions for resilience and climate change adaptation for smallholder farming communities at a global scale.

Judging the ear by its spike

The low cost and simple nature of new kinds of trials means that farms previously bypassed by participatory research for any reason – such as social conflict or remoteness – can contribute to researching the future of their planting diversity. At the same time, high-tech approaches allow farmers to show breeders where to look for the genes that make a variety more desirable.


Find out more

Bioversity International and CGIAR

This research is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) which is carried out with support from CGIAR Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements.  For details please visit

BBC Radio 4 Farming Today

Dr. Carlo Fadda reports from the field in Ethiopia on the day-to-day challenges facing farmers and how using durum wheat diversity can help them adapt their farming systems to climate change.   This report is the first item on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today Programme.
Listen here


Africa: Carlo Fadda
Americas: Jacob van Etten
Asia: Arnab Gupta