VIDEO: The seed bank - a community solution after years of climate disasters
STORY NAME: SEED BANKING – A CREATIVE SOLUTION TO ENSURE FARMING SUSTAINABILITY AFTER DISASTERS
LOCATION: CHIMANIMANI, ZIMBAMBWE
DATE SHOT: 30/09/22
SOUND: NATURAL SOUND WITH ENGLISH AND SHONA SPEECH
SOURCE: BIRD STORY AGENCY
ASPECT RATIO: 16.9
ORIGINAL FRAME RATE: 24 fps (progressive).
INTRO: After being hit by repeated climate-related disasters, a farming community on the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border now has a solution that makes farmers more resilient and helps with food security: a seed bank.
1. ANNAMORE CHIRIKO, FARMER, HOEING
3. SEED BANK WORKERS SEATED OUTSIDE SEEDBANK, WINNOWING SEEDS
4. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): ROSELINE MUKONOWESHURO, PROGRAMS OFFICER, TSURO TRUST, SAYING:
“The seed bank is very important in terms of ensuring that farmers have seeds even when we have disasters, like now you know Chimanimani is very exposed in terms of climatic extreme events, we have had issues like the storms and the cyclones, especially the cyclone, where we discovered, and we realized that farmers lost seeds and for us now to restore, to rebuild that seed base we have this seed bank where farmers are coming and depositing their seed, here in the seed bank you see that we have a variety of farm-saved seed varieties, we are promoting mostly the open pollinated varieties, we are also promoting our traditional seed varieties
5. ANNAMORE CHIRIKO PLACING HER SEEDS ON THE SHELVES
6. VARIOUS OF CHIRIKO SORTING HER SEEDS ON THE FARM
7. CHIMANIMANI REGION GRAPHIC MAP
8. SOUNDBITE (SHONA) ANNAMORE CHIRIKO, LOCAL FARMER, SAYING:
“The seed is very important to us, especially after experiencing the cyclone, we are now able to store and preserve our seeds for planting seasons, way back we lost our seeds through fire at our homes, but now we are no longer afraid because we have our very important seed bank, our lives have transformed for the better, we now able to send our children to school because we have different varieties of seeds and we now depositing the seeds in bulk at the seed bank so that we can sell the seeds and raise money for school fees that we lacked in the past.
9. BANK MEMBERS SORTING SEEDS
10. SOUNDBITE (SHONA) TSWAMWAYI MUSHA, LOCAL RESIDENT, SAYING:
"The seed bank has revived our culture of preserving seeds for future generations, the bank can stand the effects of fire and moisture and it has guaranteed us the safety of our seeds and this has inspired us to encourage other farmers to plow traditional varieties now that we have a place to keep our seeds, unlike a situation where we lose our seeds to wildfires but l can now go to the seed bank and withdraw my seeds without money."
11. MORE OF SEED BANK MEMBERS SORTING SEEDS
12. SOUNDBITE (SHONA)
"In the event of droughts and climate change our seeds can resist the scorching heat, we will not die of hunger and our families will not starve and it also helps us generate money to buy food after selling our seeds."
13. BANK MEMBERS SORTING SEEDS
14. VARIOUS OF BANK MEMBERS WALKING TOWARDS THE SEEDBANK
15. VARIOUS OF ANNAMORE CHIRIKO, FARMER, SOWING SEEDS
16. ANNAMORE CHIRIKO, FARMER, HOEING
When Cyclone Idai hit Zimbabwe in 2019, the most reported issues were death tolls edging close to 200 from Chimanimani district alone and significant destruction of property. However, for the residents of the district located to the East of Zimbabwe, continuity in farming has been a major drawback as farm products were destroyed.
Tsuro Trust, a community initiative, is running a seed banking program that seeks to ensure farmers are able to sustain their farming activities and continue with their farming activities after such a disaster as the cyclone.
According to the project’s programs officer Roseline Mukonoweshuro, conserving seeds is critical for the farmers in Chimanimani owing to their high exposure and vulnerability to disasters.
“We have had issues like the storms and the cyclones, especially the cyclone, where we discovered, that farmers lost seeds. For us now to restore, to rebuild that seed base we have this seed bank where farmers are coming and depositing their seed,” she explains showing various seed balls arranged on the shelves.
The program aims at conserving a variety of seeds with a special focus on saving open-pollinated and traditional seed varieties.
Farmers involved in the program most of whom suffered direct effects from the 2019 cyclone describe the project as critical one because they “are now able to store and preserve our seeds for planting seasons.”
Annamore Chiriko, a local farmer explains how he lost seeds after his home suffered a fire accident.
“Now we are no longer afraid because we have our very important seed bank, our lives have transformed for the better. We are now able to send our children to school because we have different varieties of seeds,” he explains.
Beyond saving the seeds, the farmers are also depositing the seeds in bulk at the seed bank intending to sell the seeds and thus will be financially empowered.
The culture of seed preservation is a tradition taps a rich vein of history among the Shona community in Chimanimani but could not be sustained due to the limitation of seed storage infrastructure.
Tswamwayi Musha, a local resident, notes that farmers have been attracted to the program because it provides a solution that ensures their farming activities are sustainable beyond disasters and calamities.
“We have a place to keep our seeds, unlike a situation where we lose our seeds to wildfires but l can now go to the seed bank and withdraw my seeds without money, our seeds are kept in a professional manner in bottles and in a safe secured house," he expresses.
In the larger context, the farmers hail the project for being a creative solution that will ensure the severe effects of climate change experienced through the increased droughts, wildfires and cyclones are mitigated.
“In the event of droughts and climate change our seeds can resist the scorching heat, we will die of hunger and our families will not starve and it also helps us generate money to buy food after selling our seeds,” explains Tswamwayi Musha, a local resident.
The project benefits 600 farmers who are primary beneficiaries with their seeds stored in the seed bank. The number of beneficiaries is however expected to rise as the program continues to attract more farmers. Besides, the existing farmers share out the seeds with other non-members.
bird story agency