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How to Set Up a Seed Bank

Farm Radio International provides information on starting a community seed bank and makes recommendations on how to do this successfully: 

Organizing Workers, Collecting Seed
"Some farmers put their savings in a bank. When they need extra money, they can take out their savings. This is the way most banks work. A seed bank has seeds in it, not money. These seeds are collected from rare and local plants which are useful to farmers. The seeds are stored in a community seed bank until they are needed. The bank can take different forms. In your village it could be a collection of seeds stored in pots in a shed or in some public building such as the health clinic. It could be a collection of clay pots dug into the floor of a family granary. Or it could be bags of seeds on the kitchen shelf.
A seed bank belongs to the community, not to an individual farmer. If a crop fails because of drought, flooding, insects, or disease, the extra supply of seed from the seed bank will be essential. Farmers may also use the bank if they need seeds from a specific crop or plant. Whenever possible, however, farmers should also keep their own seed."

Farm Radio International also provides six steps to starting a community seed bank:
1.    Organize a group of workers
2.    Collect seed including tubers and cuttings
3.    Clean and dry the seed
4.    Keep information about the seed
5.    Store seed
6.    Plant out seeds and restock seed supplies
Keep in mind that this is only a brief introduction to seed banks. You may be able to get more information about community seed banking from agricultural or development organizations.

Source: Farm Radio International, "Starting a Community Seed Bank, Package 33, Script 4, July 1994. 

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