For more than 20 years the Center has researched and developed vegetable production seed kits for our farmer training programs. But these seed kits also serve an additional purpose: When natural disasters destroy food production systems, vegetables can help rebuild local food supplies and provide nutrition for survivors.
Since 2000, AVRDC has distributed more than 35,000 disaster seed kits through humanitarian agencies to the victims of major disasters in Africa and Asia.
The kits include seed of locally adapted varieties of nutrient-rich, fast-growing vegetables, and technical information in local languages on vegetable production, food preparation and preservation methods.
Vegetables selected for the kits are:
- commonly grown in many tropical and subtropical countries
- fast-growing with low input requirements
- relatively free of pests and diseases
Each kit provides enough seed for one household to grow vegetables on 100 square meters of land to provide a balanced supply of protein and micronutrients during the initial months after a disaster. Five different seed packs have been developed for East Asia, Southeast Asia and Pacific, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.
We are seeking support to make this service permanent, based on the following procedures:
- Seed handling and packaging: All seeds will be dried, threshed, processed and carefully packaged.
- Seed short-term storage: After packaging, the seeds will be stored at AVRDC headquarters and our regional centers, ready for any urgent request.
- Extension leaflets: Instructions for cultivation and food preparation will be published in local languages and included in the kits.
- Seed quarantine: To be ready for disasters before they occur, the seed kits will be assembled and quarantine processing will be conducted ahead of time.
- Seed distribution: The vegetable seed kits will be distributed mainly to farmers in disaster-affected areas by cooperating with relief agencies.