Matching Seeds to Needs - female farmers adapt to a changing climate in Ethiopia


As climate change continues to drastically affect food security around the world, many farmers are in need of new crops and crop varieties that have the adaptive traits required by changing conditions.

The project, which is part of Bioversity International’s Seeds for Needs (S4N) initiative, sought to have a direct impact on development by ensuring that vulnerable farmers have access to better-adapted varieties of vital food crops to mitigate climate change risks to food security. Rather than focusing on breeding and introducing new varieties, this project focused on the opportunity to make quick wins in a cost-efficient way by using or (re)introducing a diversity of superior landraces readily available in genebanks.

The pilot of the S4N project was implemented in three communities in a highly agriculturally productive and commercialized region of Ethiopia, roughly 80km from, and wellconnected to, the capital city of Addis Ababa. In late 2010, 30 women farmers in one community in the lowlands (Kokka), one in the highlands (Chefe Donsa) and one in the midlands (Ejere) were selected (for their principal role as caregivers and seed custodians) to participate in an exercise of varietal assessment and selection. Farmers selected up to three highlyperforming varieties based on their needs, and suitability for their agroecological conditions, farmers from these communities were given a number of three durum wheat and three barley landraces, from a total of 100 accessions. These varieties were distributed to 10 women farmers in each community, receiving up to three kilograms of seeds to sow in their fields, and agreeing as a next step to distribute in their respective communities. The same exercise was repeated in 2011 to allow for a second distribution of seeds to farmers using a subset of 25 accessions.


Gotor, E.; Fadda, C.; Trincia, C. Matching Seeds to Needs - female farmers adapt to a changing climate in Ethiopia. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Copenhagen, Denmark (2014) 8 pp.

Published 1 January 2014