Seed and Knowledge Initiative (SKI)

Projet terminé

The project contributes to strengthening and consolidating local knowledge and practices on seeds for better resilience. In parallel, research is conducted on community seed systems and the interface between the formal and informal seed sectors. This will inform advocacy strategies and influence the policy-making and scientific narrative for improved seed and food security in the SADC region (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa).

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Communauté de développement d'Afrique australe (SADC)
Agriculture et sécurité alimentaire
Développement agricole
Recherche agronomique
01.08.2013 - 28.02.2019
CHF  4’680’000

Seed insecurity is a key constraint to household food security. Smallholder farmers have been selecting, saving and exchanging seed for generations. These farming systems and genetic diversity are under increasing threat in Southern Africa and the loss of this crop diversity reduces nutrition, undermines the ability of households to cope with climate change and external shocks, weakens the social and cultural integrity of communities, and reduces the ecological resilience of farming systems.


Vulnerable households in southern Africa are more food secure through improved seed diversity, seed security, and application of local knowledge systems.

Groupes cibles

The project primarily targets food and seed insecure women and men smallholder farmers.

It then targets civil society organizations and farmer organizations that work alongside smallholder farmers, as well as decision makers in government, extension services,gene banks, and the research community in Southern Africa (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa).


Effets à moyen terme

By 2018, participating smallholder farmers have increased their seed and nutritional diversity and are more food secure.

Civil society and farmer organizations have enhanced knowledge and practices on seeds within the framework of agroecology.

Decision makers at all levels are increasingly supporting evidence-based positions that strengthen seed diversity and local knowledge systems.

By 2018 an increasing body of socially responsive research is focused on practices on seed at local level for food and nutritional security.



Principaux résultats attendus:  

Communities and farmers trained to revive and enhance their local seed  and agricultural knowledge systems (seed production and exchange);
Networking: communities and farmers organizations involved in platforms around seed systems and agro-ecology;
Decision makers lobbied on seed diversity, local systems and agro-ecology;
Research findings on seed and local systems produced and utilized by farmers, civil society and policy makers

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

Seed exchange visits for farmers across South Africa and Zimbabwe involving 123 females and 45 males;
Seed production and storage training for 76 female and 8 male farmers;
Community capacity building workshop on advocacy on seeds for 23 female and 5 male smallholder farmers;
Partnerships established between civil society, government, gene banks and research institutions for strengthening support to small-scale farmers Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and South Africa;
Academic research paper published on seed systems and how to balance commercial and smalholder farmers’ interests in Southern Africa (August 2014, Wageningen University)

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Crédit Coopération au développement
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
ONG internationale ou étrangère

Autres partenaires


Coordination avec d'autres projets et acteurs

GPFS: Improving the availability and use of diverse seed and planting materials to reduce vulnerability and improve food security for smallholders
Other projects and actors: IISD project (Gates Foundation/University of Wageningen)

Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    4’680’000 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    3’709’801
Phases du projet Phase 3 01.03.2023 - 28.02.2027   (Phase en cours)

Phase 1 01.08.2013 - 28.02.2019   (Completed)