Vulnerability in farmer seed systems: Farmer practices for coping with seed insecurity for sorghum in Eastern Ethiopia

S.J. McGuire

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Many interventions try to address farmers¿ seed insecurity, though few assess the causes of farmers¿ vulnerability or understand their coping strategies. This paper analyzes farmers¿ practices for maintaining sorghum seed security in a specific season (1998¿99) in Ethiopia, which provides a richer picture of coping strategies than accounts of ¿general¿ practices, as it shows how responses reflect events unfolding over time and household-specific situations. High seeding rates ensure against environmental uncertainty, but not everyone has sufficient seed for repeated sowing should stands fail to establish. Off-farm seed fills this gap, though payment is usually required for substantial quantities; only 20% of seed from other farmers came for free in 1998. Differences between seed suppliers and recipients suggest indicators for chronic seed insecurity. The discussion explores implications for supporting farmers¿ coping strategies. Helping the poorest farmers access off-farm seed, from other farmers or from merchants, can reduce their vulnerability.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)211-222
    JournalEconomic Botany
    Volume61
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Keywords

    • relief seed
    • diversity
    • emergencies
    • bicolor
    • tools
    • need

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