b'we engage volunteers who are trained and guided by Fair Planet experts. They visit lead farmers fields weekly, together with local trainers, provide guidance and collect data on crop yields and income. In my opinion, this approach of con-ducting independent variety trials and engaging, from the beginning, local exten-sion services and seed providers who secure the supply of the selected varieties followed by on-farm training of lead farmers, is the basis for sustainable outcomes and a suc-cessful exit strategy, as demonstrated in the Meskan region in Ethiopia, within only six years. ES: HOW DO YOU SELECT THE LEAD FARMERS?SH:The local extension teams chooseGen Z at Fair Planet: Gal Nir, project coordinator for Fair Planet in Tanzania. them. They know who the early adopters and opinion leaders are. These farmers shareES: YOU ARE NOW ACTIVE IN ETHIOPIAfunds to up-scale the outreach to more their knowledge and successful experienceAND TANZANIA. WHICH COUNTRIEScountries and reach millions of farmers who with their neighbours, who then adoptARE IN THE PIPELINE FOR FUTURE ROLL- need our help. It is important to note that best practices. The program also builds theOUT?only ~20 per cent of Fair Planets resources capacity of local trainers who independentlySH: In Ethiopia we started by introducing(budget & manpower) are invested in vari-continue training a larger circle of farmers,high quality seeds of tomato, hot-pepperety trials, while the rest is invested in local thus leading to a strong ripple effect and aand onion and now we add more vegeta- capacity building. We were surprised to quick spread of high-quality seeds and bestble crops to allow farmers to respond tofind that raising funds for such an effec-practices. market demands. We also started testingtive intervention is not easy. We look for potato varieties, since current potato yieldsadditional companies, organizations and ES: CAN YOU SHARE SOME ACHIEVE- are very low mainly due to poor startingdonors who will join our efforts to increase MENTS? material. Growing potatoes from certifiedfood and nutrition security and improve the SH: The results are outstanding: during aseed potatoes of high-quality varieties, fromeconomic situation of the poorest farmers.5-year project in Ethiopia, supported inTrue Potato Seeds, or from apical root cut-part by the Dutch government, we trainedtings, can provide numerous advantages forES: HOW CAN THE EU SEED SECTOR 150 local trainers and mentored 2,363 leadthe local farmers.HELP FAIR PLANET?farmers in 65 villages. Due to fast adoptionIn Tanzania we collaborate withSH: Firstly, we would like more seed and of better seeds and GAP, more than 75,000Sokoine University in Morogoro. We per- seed technology companies to join our plat-smallholders have tripled their food produc- form variety trials in mid-land and highlandform. We are expanding it to include vege-tion. Their average net-income from vegeta- conditions and are starting the training pro- tables, cereals, potatoes and pulses and are bles was $470 USD, which increased theirgram with the local extension system. looking for companies with high quality ger-households annual income by 26 per cent.Recently, the International Seedmplasm and seed technologies that are inter-In parallel, the intervention contributed toFederation (ISF) announced its commit- ested in growing their markets in Africa. a significant growth of the private sector:ment to contribute to the transformation ofSecondly, the readers of the European annual sales of vegetable seedlings by localfood systems by assisting farmers to produceSeed magazine can spread the word and plant raisers increased from 10 to 200 mil- more in a sustainable and resilient mannercreate awareness that will attract private lion, and the annual value of imported veg- (See statement on their website). One of ISFdonors and aid organizations who are etable seeds into Ethiopia increased by $7.9initiatives is Building a Seed Resilienceinterested in tackling the root causes of the million USD.project for a sustainable seed system basedgrowing food and poverty crises. An external evaluation of the projectson inclusiveness in a country. impact, done by the Hebrew University,Fair Planet was chosen to implement found that 96 per cent of the farmersthe Seed Resilience project in Rwanda, household members, more than 485,000which will address Rwandas main food people, benefitted from improved nutri- and nutrition pillars: vegetables for vitamins tion and 45 per cent of them used theirand fibres, potatoes and cereals for carbohy-additional income to send their childrendrates and pulses for proteins. This project to school. Since only about half of thecan serve as a model for future projects inDevelopments on the ISF initiative willsurveyed farmers had school-aged kids,additional countries and will show that thebe published both on Fair Planet andit means that almost all of those who didseed industry can significantly contribute toISF websites.have ones, were able to support their edu- the establishment of local and more resilientISF project website:cation. Furthermore, the study found thatfood systems and contribute to achievinghttps://worldseed.org/article/cross-sec-96 per cent of the farmers saved money forthe UN SDGs. toral-project-to-establish-inclusive-seed-future needs and can re-invest in generat- systems-in-rwanda-rolls-out/ing income from farming in a sustainableES: WHAT CHALLENGES DO REMAIN? Fair Planet website: https://www.fair-manner.SH: The main challenge is raising sufficientplanet.ngo/ 26IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'