Ellen Chasokela Herald Reporter
Government has hailed the role played by women in the conservation and sustainable utilisation of local crop seed varieties which are increasingly disappearing due to several factors.
Opening the Chomazumba Community Seed Bank (CSB) recently, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri in a speech read on his behalf by Dr Dumisani Kutywayo, said the CSB will help in ensuring that local crop seed varieties are kept safe for future use by next generations.
“I am informed women made a vital role in the construction of this CSB and this is so because they are the ones who are mostly involved in seed conservation, management and use. They contribute in selecting seed in the field, during and after harvest and in seed and food fairs,” he said.
“The local knowledge on how to manage and process these crops into nutritious dishes has been passed from one generation to the next, in most cases women farmers have taken a very active role.
“We should take this opportunity to celebrate the role that women have played and continue to play in this important role. The wide crop diversity displayed at the Seed and Food Fair is to a large extent managed by women smallholder farmers.’’
Community Technology Development Organization (CTDO), a local non-governmental organisation, constructed the CSB at a cost of US$25 000 in Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe District in Mashonaland East province.
This CSB was constructed with financial support from Oxfam Novib under a project which aims to empower local people and smallholder farmers to promote the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and nutrition security under conditions of climate change.
This newly-constructed seed bank will become a depot for collection of produce for the market and will also act as an information centre where youths will access information on agriculture, climate change, policy and gender issues.
Minister Shiri hailed the programme for helping to strengthen the conservation of the country’s plant and food crop diversity critical to the country’s food and nutrition security as well as improving livelihoods. CTDO director Mr Andrew Mushita said the facility can act as a seed reserve for surrounding communities in case of crop failures due to droughts, floods or any other catastrophe.