Food Crop Seed Bank for farmers

About Solution

In Papua New Guinea (PNG), there is no food crop seed company. There are government agricultural research organizations that come up with new or improved varieties of crops like high yielding, shorter maturing, drought tolerant and disease resistant sweet potato, banana, taro and cassava, among others, but these research organizations do not produce enough seeds or planting materials to supply to meet the demands of the millions of farmers across the country. The government research organizations do not produce and supply the planting materials in mass quantity because their  mandate basically stops at research. They have limited activity in extension and development. The extension arm of the Department of Agriculture & Livestock (DAL) is weak in executing its function as in extension due to limited or no budget from the National Government.

This is a very serious problem, because unless farmers have good quality, pathogen-free planting materials and a reliable and consistent supply source, they will do very little in supplying food to their own households and also to the national food basket.

The problem becomes very pronounced during extreme climatic and weather events such as drought and flood. For example, in 2007-2008, there was a National Drought that affected the farmers across the country. After the drought ended, about 70-80% of the farmers had no planting materials to plant new gardens. When the farmers went to national (government) research institutes, in particular, PNG National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI), the institute was not able to supply the planting materials in the quantity that was required. Similar problem was encountered when Cyclone Guba hit Oro Province of the country leaving about 100,000 farmers without planting materials to re-begin their normal lives. In the recent National Drought (2015-2016), the problem repeated itself. Many rural development and aid agencies tried to help farmers restore their food gardens, but only made very limited success due to lack of seeds and planting materials supply. 

Therefore as a solution to this very serious and chronic humanitarian-oriented 'crises', I have been pondering upon the concept of 'seed bank' where my company will produce seeds and planting materials of sweet potato, banana, corn (maize), pumpkin, taro, yam, rice, cassava, and leafy vegetables so that farmers across the country can buy seeds and planting materials from my company either in a normal situation or in an climate change induced extreme events like droughts and floods.

The model is that my company will buy seeds and planting materials of food crops from the research organizations in the country or even from abroad, and raise and multiply those materials in the company farms following a scientifically proven seed protocol (to ensure clean planting materials and true to type plants are raised) be supplied to farmers.

During the extreme climatic conduction like drought, when the drought ends, the development and aid agencies can easily source seeds and seedlings from my company and supply them immediately to the affected farmers so the farmers can immediately restore the farm and overcome hunger and begin a normal life sooner.

I need funding support to buy tissue culture equipment, set-up tissue culture lab, set up green houses, set up multiplication plots, and set up invitro seed banks of major food crops of the country to advance on these important solution.

The very problem I am discussing and the simple solution I am putting forward will address one of the biggest agriculture and food crises of my country (Papua New Guinea) and save up to some six million farmers for a very long time to come.



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