Increasing agricultural production is the key to economic growth in much of Africa, and the availability of seed is vital if farmers are to grow the food they need to survive, and also earn more from their produce.

In many African countries, under 10% of all seed is accessed by farmers from state-run agricultural support services, with the large majority saving their own seed from year to year – often with diminishing yield returns.

Self Help Africa supports seed multiplication across its programmes in Africa, provides ongoing training and technical support to community groups, and links farmer producers to laboratories where they can have their seed analysed and certified.

The ‘science’ associated with seed multiplication has been taken by Self Help Africa to grassroots level across the eight African countries where it works, with small-scale farmers now acting as the producers and distributors of good quality cereal, pulse and vegetable seed in their locality.

Miriam Dinah Daka is a 27-year old mother of two and a community based seed producer living in Luondo village, Chipata Zambia. Thanks to seed multiplication, Dinah’s family now have access to a year round supply of food.

In early 2010, Dinah joined a group of farmers on a Self Help Africa seed growing project. She was trained to grow bean seed and given 20kg of beans to multiply. Dinah harvested 380kg of beans and received certification for her produce, which she then sold. She earned £200, and invested this in a small grocery trading post which is bringing in enough money to meet her family’s basic needs.

“I am grateful to Self Help Africa for helping me to start my business, and enabling me to improve our standard of living.”

Across the border in Mabwera village, Malawi, Mary Banda is another community seed multiplier supported by Self Help Africa with her enterprise.

“I used to struggle to produce enough food, but since I became involved in producing peanut and maize seed I have seen my own yields increase, and have also earned good money from the sale and distribution of certified seed. We never used to grow peanuts but now there are around 20 farmers in this village growing it”

Watch a short video on the importance of seed multiplication programmes; ‘It starts with a seed’

This month 1% fundraising will provide seed for farmers in Uganda to set up 4 seed multiplication projects, this will provide high quality seed for hundreds of local farmers and impact on entire communities. Please give your 1% here…