Concerns have been raised by both implementing agencies and donors over the effectiveness of relief seed inputs and the sustainability of continued seed distributions in emergency situations. Based on a study undertaken in southern Somalia, this paper describes the impacts of insecurity, shocks and stresses on agriculture, and examines whether relief seed distributions are the most appropriate way of providing assistance to farmers affected by disaster. The paper shows that by developing a better understanding of the ways in which local seed systems function it is possible to identify how these local systems can be supported and developed. Rather than providing seed itself, the study highlights a number of ways in which the capacity of local seed systems can be strengthened as part of a strategy for agricultural rehabilitation. Suggested interventions include (i) facilitating farmers’ access to seed; (ii) the introduction of appropriate agricultural technologies; and (iii) enhanced input/output marketing.
Catherine Longley, Richard Jones,ohamed Hussein Ahmed and Patrick Audi