DIVERSIFARM-India is aimed at improving food and nutrition security and livelihoods among smallholder farmers in India by strengthening farmer-managed seed systems through community seed banks.

The project is not setting up community seed banks but aims at strengthening those that have already been established, identifying ways and means for improving their long-term sustainability and preparing the ground for scaling-up good models. Thus, it works through a science-policy-practice interface framework, with research as a central integral part. The approach is bottom-up, gender responsive and rights-based, involving stakeholders from the beginning.

The situation on the ground will be assessed through a comprehensive mapping of community seed banks, applying Geographical Information System technology, a literature and document review, and in-depth case studies of community seed banks in one federal state, Odisha. The relevance of the findings from the case studies for other federal states and contexts in India will be considered in light of the survey findings.

Based on this bottom-up needs assessment, capacity building programmes will be developed, taking experiences also from other Indian states and capacity building measures and from other countries into account, and providing for cross-learning-exchange between and among the community seed banks with their facilitating and supporting organizations. Importantly, steps will be taken to explore the institutional framework around the community seed banks and relevant legislation, policies, strategies and measures at state and national levels to identify prospects for improvement in line with international norms on farmers’ rights related to crop genetic resources.

Among the measures, a national platform for community seed banks will be set up under the auspices of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research - National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (dependent on clearance). National level seminars will be organized each year to share project results, enable the exchange of experiences among stakeholders and discuss ways forward. The project seeks to establish a mode of work which can be applied in further federal states in India in new project phases, should the project be extended after 2026, and which may serve as an example for other countries. The results will be disseminated widely in India and internationally i.e. through peer reviewed articles, policy briefs, social media and seminars.

Project period: 2024-2026


  • Research Director, Biodiversity and Natural Resources
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  • Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi