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Seed banking and a hybrid of traditional and novel sustainable agriculture techniques

India Dryland region of Karnataka state

Seed banking and a combination of revitalised traditional and introduced novel agricultural practices are helping improve food security and climate change adaptive potential in the drylands of Karnataka, India.

In the drylands of Karnataka state in India, the Genetic Resource, Energy, Ecology and Nutrition (GREEN) Foundation is working to conserve agricultural biodiversity and encourage sustainable farming practices mainly through the provision and protection of climate-resilient traditional seed varieties. A method of on-farm selection of high-yielding, pest- and disease-resistant strains helps improve food security for farmers in the drylands partly through the improved ability to adapt to future climate change impacts. The Foundation also practices seed banking which has facilitated the collection and conservation of over 90 varieties of finger millet, 85 varieties of paddy, 55 minor millet varieties. 25 pulses and numerous oil seeds and vegetables. These efforts were further bolstered by a revitalisation of traditional and incorporation of new agricultural practices including mixed cropping, intercropping, nursery production, and indigenous agroforestry and livestock management. Kitchen gardens have also been encouraged, providing hundreds of families with food, fuel, medicines, and fodder for livestock. Seed fairs, seed management committees, and seed saver networks are helping spread knowledge about the value of seed banking for food security and climate change adaptation.

Case effectiveness on

Climate change

Mitigation: Not reported
Adaptation: Positive

The selection of high yielding, pest- and disease-resistant seed varieties has reportedly provided a greater diversity of options for responding to significant future climate change impacts.

Ecosystem health

Ecological effect: Positive

The GREEN Foundation has facilitated the collection and conservation of over 90 varieties of finger millet, 85 varieties of paddy, 55 minor millet varieties, 25 pulses and numerous oil seeds and vegetables. This has reportedly ensured the conservation of species that may be disappearing from large-scale agricultural systems.

Socioeconomic outcomes

The conservation of traditional seed varieties on farms has reportedly improved food security by enhancing both the security and the nutritional value of food available to the community. The sale of seeds, surplus foods, and saplings for reforestation programs has reportedly yielded a small amount of extra income for community members.