Enhancing production of locally-adapted, climate-resilient underutilized crops

Project summary

Food security starts with seeds and yet, in Nigeria, access to high quality seeds, particularly of highly nutritious, locally-adapted vegetables, is limited. Ensuring high quality seeds are available to farmers requires development of the local seed system. In this project, we will address this in a number of ways. Firstly, we will survey farmers about the vegetables that are the target of this project, and ask where they source their seeds and what varieties are available. We will then evaluate the diversity of the seeds that are available in different parts of the country. Working towards establishing community-based seed production hubs, four PhD students will study seed development, to find out the best time to harvest seeds, and optimize seed germination and vigour tests. Since Nigeria’s climate is now more variable, with greater risks of high temperatures, drought or flooding, and saline intrusion, we will also assess the germination tolerance of seeds of different varieties to these environmental stressors. Working with communities, we will establish six seed production hubs and train farmers in seed production. We will also train seed quality control officers in seed inspection and certification, according to the standards developed for each of the target crops. Through these efforts, we will deliver improved livelihoods for new and existing seed producers, facilitate greater access to quality seeds for small-scale farmers, and enhance the diversity of fresh produce in local food markets.

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