Growing Seed Banks Across Asia

ECHO Asia Seed Banking Initiatives Grow in Scope 

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Multiplying opportunities are arising to equip partner organizations and the communities they serve with ideas, training, and best practices in seed saving and banking. Plans to help with establishing two seed banks within the Ayerwaddy Delta expanded. The excitement about the concept and the expressed needs of the pastors and development workers serving in these communities has given rise to a network of four seed banks in Myanmar.

One of ECHO Asia’s key roles in this collaborative project with the Myanmar Baptist Convention was providing a 2-month internship for seed bank managers-in-training.

ECHO Asia’s New Small Farm Resource and Training Center

ECHO Asia’s New Small Farm Resource and Training Center

New Location Paves Way to Equip More People

Plans began to relocate ECHO’s seed bank and research work from Mai, in northern Thailand, to a larger and more accessible site near Chiang Mai, positioning ECHO Asia to better serve the region.  This new location improves accessibility to resources, increasing the Asia Impact Center’s capacity to host more training events and demonstrate additional agricultural practices. 

Growing a Network of Community Seed Banks 

For those on a lower budget and lacking access to the necessary technologies, and reliable electricity, ECHO Asia explores, tests, and experiments with appropriate seed bank options for local communities within the region. 

These include earthbag building techniques and buried clay cisterns for temperature stabilization, bicycle vacuum sealing technologies, and locally available desiccant materials for drying seeds.

Applying the training received from ECHO seed bank staff in Thailand, two trainees returned to Myanmar to establish their own community level seed banks. They constructed a modest seed bank ‘cold room’ and used earthbag building technology to lower and stabilize temperature. Raised beds have been planted for growing out seed varieties and supplying the seed bank.

It was at this site that ECHO Asia hosted a Seed Saving Workshop in January that brought in dozens of local farmers and national development workers, to train on-site and learn about seed cleaning techniques, storage technologies, and seed biology.

Visit ECHOcommunity.org to find out more about future events or to connect with ECHO Asia!

Researching Small Farm Resource Centers

With the SFRC case study currently concluding, ECHO Asia and MEAS look forward to publishing the findings and sharing the results at the upcoming ECHO Asia Agriculture and Community Development Conference in Chiang Mai, Thailand in early October 2013 as well as at the ECHO Agriculture Conference in Ft. Myers, Florida in December 2013.

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