Hivos East Africa

East Africa

Open Source Seeds Systems in East Africa

Climate change continues to pose a threat to indigenous farmers in East Africa. This creates a serious challenge not only in food and nutrition security for millions, but also in loss of income and source of livelihood for farmers. Open source seeds systems, however, are unlocking access to plant genetic resources for farmers, communities and future generations.

The Open Source Seeds Systems (OSSS) Programme assists low-income farmers in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to better cope with climate change through increasing the availability and diversity of climate-smart varieties of four important crops: beans, forage legumes, finger millet and sorghum.

By actively engaging with national and local governments, extension services, communities and the private sector, the OSSS programme will promote a seed system that balances breeders’ and farmers rights and provides opportunities for farmers and researchers to further improve on crop varieties. This system will enhance use of a wider range of locally adapted crops and varieties. 

The programme also facilitates equitable access for women and youth to open source climate-smart seeds systems by developing gender sensitive value chains.

Open Source Seeds Systems’ objectives are:

  • Piloting open source seeds systems to enhance the use of high quality seeds of climate – smart varieties
  • Identifying and marketing channels with supportive financial services to disseminate best bean, forage legumes, millet and sorghum varieties
  • Enhancing national PGR systems’ capacity to coordinate conservation measures to protect indigenous plant varieties and facilitate knowledge dissemination at the local, regional and international levels

Specific programme outputs entail:

  • Food and security alleviation through a 20% increase in  targeted crops’ productivity
  • Adaptation to climate change and environmental sustainability
  • Adoption of a citizen approach to promote new varieties