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RWA Swaziland: Reviving Heritage: RWA Swaziland Community Seed Banks to Preserve Indigenous Seeds

RWA Swaziland in collaboration with local farmers and the Eswatini Gene Bank are working to preserve and restore scarce indigenous seeds through the establishment of community indigenous seed banks. Amidst the rich tapestry of Swaziland’s agricultural heritage, the efforts of RWA Swaziland stand as a testament to the commitment to preserving and revitalising indigenous seeds. The recent RWA Southern Africa Seed Audit has been a pivotal tool, offering insights that underscore the pressing need to safeguard our indigenous seed. The audit presented a stark reality, revealing the scarcity of crucial indigenous seeds, such as the lanjakazane maize. Out of sixty-five SRWA farmers surveyed, a solitary guardian was found cultivating this local maize variety. This revelation acts as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced in preserving and revitalising our agricultural diversity. Lanjakazane maize, more than just a crop, holds deep cultural significance. Adapted over generations to thrive in the local environment, this maize variety faces threats from evolving farming practices and the introduction of hybrid varieties. RWA Swaziland recognizes the cultural, nutritional, and ecological importance of lanjakazane maize and is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring its survival.

In response to the seed audit findings, RWA Swaziland is taking proactive steps by establishing community seed banks. These seed banks will play a vital role as repositories for indigenous seeds, essentially becoming a living library for future generations. The objectives of these initiatives are threefold:

Preserving Diversity: The seed banks will safeguard the genetic richness of lanjakazane maize and other indigenous seeds, fostering resilience in the face of environmental changes.

Restoring Heritage Crops: By facilitating the reintroduction of scarce seeds into local agriculture, RWA Swaziland aims to revive traditional farming practices for a sustainable future.

Community Engagement: Empowering local farmers to actively participate in seed bank initiatives fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility for our agricultural legacy.

In cultivating these seeds of change, SRWA aims to actively contribute to the preservation of a rich cultural and ecological heritage, ensuring that the agricultural legacy of Eswatini flourishes for generations to come.

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