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Script 67.1

Notes to broadcasters

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The following script provides information about replenishing seed stocks that are destroyed or lost due to armed conflict. While listeners in your audience may not be affected by armed conflict, the information also applies to other emergency situations, such as natural disasters. Adapt the script to suit your local situation. You may want to do a follow-up radio program about a seed fair, or even to help organize one and advertise it. A seed fair is another way for communities to rebuild seed supplies. Help from a larger organization (government or non-government) is often needed to hold a seed fair. The organization distributes seed vouchers to farmers who need seed. Those farmers can exchange the vouchers for seed at the seed fair. And farmers who have seed can sell it in return for the seed vouchers. After the fair, seed sellers give the voucher to the sponsoring agency in exchange for cash. The seed fair benefits both farmers who want to buy seed and farmers who want to sell seed. For more information, see Seeds for Survival – Supplying Seeds in an Emergency, listed in the Information sources at the end of the script.

Script

BRING UP MUSIC AND HOLD UNDER INTRO.

INTRO

Host 1
: When war breaks out, it’s difficult for many of us to survive. If you’re a farmer, it’s especially difficult if you’ve lost your stocks of seed. On today’s program, we’re going to talk about ways you can rebuild your seed stocks.

Host 2
: But before we start our discussion about rebuilding supplies, it’s important to think about what kinds of seeds are needed. Farmers often grow different types of crops to adapt to different conditions during and after times of conflict. You may want quick maturing crops, or more root and tuber crops. You may need food crops, not cash crops. Where can you find these seeds? Are they available from small traders? Or from neighbouring farmers? Or from large seed companies? Sometimes there are enough seeds, but you don’t have enough money to buy them.

Host 1
: When you know what kinds of seed you need, you can think about where you might get them. Let’s begin our discussion now about rebuilding seed supplies.

FADE OUT MUSIC.

Host 2
: The question is: What can a farmer do to replace seed stocks that are destroyed or lost?

Host 1
: Well, there are many relief organizations that offer help in times of need. But it’s important to be cautious about imported seeds. If relief organizations are bringing seeds into the country, it’s a good idea to try planting a small quantity to test the seed before you plant it on a large scale.

Host 2
: That’s good advice. We don’t always know where these seeds come from. Or if they will do well in our climate.

Host 1
: Or if they will be able to resist local pests and diseases.

Host 2
: Sometimes the seeds will do well here. But the best thing, if possible, is to protect and save your own seeds to plant in emergencies.

Host 1
: What if you haven’t got all the varieties of seed that you need?

Host 2
: In that case, you’ll have to think of another strategy. For example, try and exchange seeds with your neighbours. If you have one kind of seed that has survived, perhaps your neighbour has another – and you can do an exchange.

Host 1
: Communities could even organize gatherings where farmers get together to exchange seeds.

Host 1
: You know, there’s a really good example of a group of farmers who did a seed exchange in Sierra Leone in West Africa.

Host 2
: You’re right – it was following many years of armed conflict, and it was hard for farmers to get seeds.

Host 1
: They could find improved, high-yielding varieties because the large seed traders had come back to the villages after the war. But they couldn’t find seeds for their traditional crops – the ones that their families had grown for generations.

Host 2
: And those traditional varieties are important to farmers because they grow well in local climates and suit local tastes.

Host 1
: Exactly. Some families had stored these varieties, but they had stopped trading and selling them during the war.

Host 2
: An international organization decided to help farmers find their traditional crops again. They discussed with the farmers what kind of seeds they valued most.

Host 1
: Many farmers wanted seeds that were adaptable, high yielding and quick to mature.

Host 2
: So the organization made a list of the most important seed characteristics and then people searched the community for seeds with these qualities – local seeds that had survived the war.

Host 1
: When they found a family that had saved traditional seeds, the organization gave that family a popular variety of rice seed in exchange for some of the traditional varieties. Community work groups planted and grew the traditional varieties. Those seeds were then distributed throughout the community.

Host 1
: The result was that more farmers were able to grow their local kinds of rice – the traditional favourites.

Host 2
: And instead of dying out, these cherished varieties will survive and prosper.

Host 1
: That is one way to rebuild a local seed system. Of course there are other ways – for example a seed fair, a kind of meeting place where farmers buy and sell their seeds.

Host 2
: But the topic of seed fairs will have to wait until our program [tomorrow/Wednesday/next week].

Host 1
: The messages today are simple. Save your own seeds for emergencies. Be cautious of imported seeds. And find new ways to exchange local seeds with your neighbours.

– END –

Acknowledgements

  • Contributed by Vijay Cuddeford, North Vancouver, Canada.
  • Reviewed by Dr. Kate Longley, Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute, and Special Project Scientist, International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Nairobi, Kenya.

Information Sources