Heirloom Seed Saving

Dukuduku Forest Open Pollinated Seedling Nursery and Seed Distribution Centre

Communities bordering the Dukuduku Forest, in the Umkhanyakude District Municipality, live in an area severely affected by soil erosion and climate change. The region is rural and under-resourced, where high levels of unemployment and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS pose daily challenges to residents. Poverty, combined with devastating impacts of the recent drought, has increased food insecurity in the region.

Heirloom and organic seeds are seeds which breed true to type. Unlike many commercial varieties, these seeds can be stored and healthy crops can be grown year after year. They are also more resistant to the effects of drought and climate change. The Dukuduku Seedling Nursery was established to provide local community gardeners with heirloom seeds and seedlings, and to serve as a venue for the exchange of seeds and ideas. 120 micro-farmers in the region attended a seed saving workshop, where they learnt the basics of storing their own seed. They were also provided with a selection of different seed varieties, seed saving toolkits and on-going mentorship.

The nursery itself has become very popular with local farmers and is producing at full capacity. Profit from the sale of seedlings supports the full time employment of two local residents.

 Funding is facilitated by the Foundation for Human Rights, which is funded by the Government of Flanders.

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