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Kganyago, Mpho Clementine

Understanding farmer seed systems in Sespond, North West Province

Kganyago, Mpho Clementine

Titre : Understanding farmer seed systems in Sespond, North West Province

Auteur : Kganyago, Mpho Clementine

Université de soutenance : University of Cape Town.

Grade : Master of Science in Environment, Society and Sustainability 2020

Résumé partiel
Farmer-led seed systems (FSS) provide the backbone for small-scale farmers and many rural communities that use traditional methods of farming to produce seeds that grow and adapt to local conditions. FSS differ from one community and farmer to the next, depending on the methods and practices used to maintain seed varieties. Seed diversity can enhance FSS by improving livelihoods and strengthening farmers’ networks, thus contributing to resilient communities. Although nuanced, the dualistic agricultural system in South Africa consists largely of subsistence (small-scale) and commercial (large-scale) farming and includes different crop management systems and post-harvest practices. In South Africa, maize (Zea mays) is a major staple grain crop with a significant role as animal and poultry feed. The North West region is one of the highest white-maize-producing provinces in South Africa. Maize seed systems include both traditional, openpollinated varieties (OPVs) and cultivars such as modern hybrids and genetically modified (GM) seed varieties, including those engineered for specific purposes. The dominant GM maize is that designated for pest resistance using Bacillus thuringienesis (Bt), a soil bacterium which produces a toxin that is fatal to a wide variety of insects such as moths and flies. Many small-scale farmers prefer their own traditional seeds for breeding, planting, selection, selling and consuming. However, FSS based on traditional varieties are threatened by modern cultivars which may be introduced in different ways including through seed exchange, purchasing at shops or by pollination from nearby commercial farms. This study was conducted in the Sespond community of the North West Province. The aim of the study was to understand how small-scale farmers in Sespond maintain traditional maize varieties through selection and storage in a complex agricultural landscape that incorporates both formal and informal seed systems.


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