We are very pleased that the World Vegetable Center has responded to our concerns about the vegetable seed kits that the Center has been distributing in the wake of the floods in Thailand. Thanks to Maureen Mecozzi for this contribution.
We appreciate and share your concern regarding seed distribution in the wake of disasters. To clarify the role of AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center in providing seed to Thailand:
The floods in Thailand affected agricultural areas, and the military is facilitating the relief operations on behalf of the Royal Project. The Project’s patron, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, requested seed from the Ministry of Agriculture, which was unable to supply as much as was needed. Kasetsart University will launch an overall development program that will include home gardens, but it also lacked seed in sufficient quantities for distribution.
KU and the ministry approached AVRDC–The World Vegetable Center to help supply seed for these initiatives.
AVRDC’s disaster relief seed kits include hardy, fast-growing vegetable varieties with low input requirements that can provide much-needed nutrition to disaster survivors. Crops in AVRDC’s disaster relief kits are carefully selected to suit local agroecologies and food preferences. The kits include cultivation and food preparation instructions in local languages.
Each kit provides enough seed for one household to grow vegetables on 100 m2 of land to provide a balanced supply of protein and micronutrients during the initial months after a disaster.
- Seed for the disaster relief kits was produced in Thailand.
- Crops selected for the kits are locally adapted, open-pollinated varieties (farmers can save their own seed to plant in following seasons).
- The crops are well-known in Thailand and palatable to Thai tastes and preferences.
- The crops are nutritious and quick-growing.
- Seed was properly pre-treated and stored to ensure high germination rates.
The Center’s disaster seed kits are not designed to supplant the local seed supply system. Food production systems can be severely disrupted or destroyed altogether in the wake of a disaster; supplying seed kits helps survivors in agricultural areas bridge the gap until local seed systems recover.