Date Posted: October 9th, 2012
This week’s story on women farmers growing new cassava varieties explores several important issues, including the use of improved crop varieties, processing as a way for farmers to preserve and “add value” to their crops for sale, and women farmers’ access to land.
While each of these issues merits further discussion and research, here are some resources and ideas that might help you further explore the issue of new crop varieties.
Past FRW stories on the topic:
-“Guinea: Growing tomatoes all year round” (FRW 184, January 2012)
-“Uganda: Improved seeds improve livelihoods for women’s group” (FRW 28, July 2008)
Farm Radio International’s archive of scripts on biodiversity: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/biodiversity.asp
This story may inspire you to produce a program on the advantages and disadvantages of growing new varieties. Here are some general questions to get your research started. You could interview farmers, seed merchants, crop breeders and other researchers, or NGO staff.
-Under what circumstances are new varieties beneficial?
-What benefits have farmers seen with new varieties?
-Why do farmers choose newly bred varieties?
-What are the main drawbacks – for example, do farmers need to buy seed each year?
-Are any farmers returning to traditional varieties instead of seeking seeds of new varieties?