Sustainable Seed Systems

Seed is the soul of Agriculture.  Locally adaptable agro-diversity based cropping patterns and timely availability of good quality seed in required quantities are essential for sustaining farming.  Seed was ‘community resource’ carefully bred, conserved and evolved over thousands of years. Today the technological advances, market manipulations and the changing policies and legal systems have made it a ‘commercial proprietary resource’.

The process of modernization of agriculture has deskilled the farmers making them passive consumers of industrial products including seeds.  This has not only resulted in increased economic and ecological costs but also made farmers lose their control over their productive resources and production processes.  This process has led to a monoculture of crops, production practices and food habits which had seriously affected the resource poor farmers and resource poor farms especially in rainfed areas on one hand and the health of the consumers on the other.

Given the seriousness of the problem we need to plan and evolve innovative processes, technologies and institutional systems which can help in conserving existing diversity, evolve newer lines, produce and meet the needs of the farmers.

For this to happen we take up activities


  • Identifying , conserving, reviving, maintaining and documenting local diversity: Diversity mapping, revival of local varieties, characterization.
  • Participatory Varietal Selection: to select for low input/organic/natural growing conditions, to establish Value for Cultivation and Use, Biodiversity blocks, generating data on local performance, user preferences.
  • Participatory Organic Breeding: an approach to develop new varieties/hybrids working in partnership farmers and users, taking into account their specific needs and demands based on value for cultivation and use. Currently working on Organic responsive varieties.
  • Seed Hub: Managing parental lines, Maintenance breeding, training, and capacity building on seed production, coordinating between conservators, breeders, seed producers and marketing, publishing seed catalogues. Seed hubs work with seed banks and seed enterprises
  • Institutionalizing production and distribution: Community Seed Banks, Community Seed Enterprises, FPOs/Farmer Service Centres/Community Resource Persons for local production and distribution.
  • Creating Value for Diversity: developing processing, value addition and  products to increase use
  • Open Source Seed System: arrangements that facilitate and preserve freedom of access and use of plant genetic material, prohibit exclusive rights, and apply to any subsequent derivatives of those materials

Participatory Varietal Selection

CSA Biodiversity Collection

Musalireddygari palli, Kadapa, AP

IRRI: Paddy Varietal Selection

Jangoan, Telangana

FiBL: Organic Cotton Breeding

Kadapa, AP

We adopt Open Source Seed Systems

Documents on our work on seeds

Seed Sector in Andhra Pradesh

From Community Seed Banks to Community Seed Enterprises

Modern Agriculture and Erosion of Biodiversity in India

Sustainable Seed Systems Concept Note

Open Source Seed Material Knowledge Transfer Agreements

Building Open Source Seed Systems

Best Practices in Biodiversity Conservation