Inclusive community seed production in the hills of nepal

With the conclusion of its fourth phase in 2014, the Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) celebrates 16 years of successfully improving the food security and capacities of farming families in the hills of Nepal. One of the pronounced achievements of the project is its successful inclusion of women and disadvantaged groups in all activities, through what is known as the Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) approach.

“Because we target women and disadvantaged groups, more farmers have adopted improved varieties and practices, and benefitted from them,” stated Guillermo Ortiz-Ferrara, CIMMYT cereals breeder and HMRP leader during its second and fourth phases.

Established seed companies do not typically market their projects in the hill regions of Nepal, so HMRP established community-based seed production (CBSP) groups in order to promote seed self-sufficiency and create new livelihoods for communities. Starting in 2000 with just seven groups, the CBSP group initiative grew to 223 groups producing 1,460 tons of seed by 2014. CBSP groups have become a successful model in Nepal, contributing to the increased adoption of improved maize varieties and technologies and helping to ensure the availability of seed in remote areas, on time and at lower prices.

CBSP groups have not only improved seed self-sufficiency in the region, but gender equality as well. Of those involved in CBSP groups, 57 percent of participants are women and 64 percent come from disadvantaged groups, in keeping with the GESI approach. Women CBSP members have reported greater knowledge of and access to improved maize seeds and extension services, as well as increased yield and income, leading to greater empowerment within their families and communities.

“Gaining income doubled by selling maize seed and membership in the cooperative, women farmers are not only able to send their children to school but also feel more safe and sound in their family and society” said Nanu Maya Ghatani, Chairperson of Jana Chetana Women’s CBSP Cooperative.

“HMRP has brought new hopes to the lives of women farmers” - Nanu Ghatani

HMRP is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

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