House Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda called on Filipinos to return to the practice of seed saving to improve food security and spur climate change adaptation as the world observed International Seeds Day on Monday, April 26.
“Our observance of International Seeds Day is a timely reminder for Filipinos to return to the age-old practice of seed saving,” Legarda said.
Seed saving is the practice of saving seeds and reproductive material from plants like flowers, herbs, grains, vegetables, and tubers for future use, which farmers have been doing for millennia.
“Seed saving can help improve food security especially during this pandemic. This will ensure a steady supply of seeds and harvest for farmers and even for households, and will even provide an emergency supply of seeds in case crops are damaged,” Legarda said.
“Because these seeds are self-replicating and because they build resilience over time, farmers and households most affected by climate change have a better chance of thriving,” Legarda added.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations similarly highlights the importance of saving the seeds of local varieties, which it notes have a high degree of genetic diversity, and have the ability to better withstand and adapt to local environmental stresses and changes. The UN FAO also emphasizes the importance of establishing community seed banks, which can help preserve the most adapted varieties for a region.
“When we regularly save seeds, plants become better adjusted to our local ecosystems. Along with our gardens and our farms, they become more resilient in the face of climate change,” Legarda added.
“Moving forward, we should emphasize saving and exchanging seeds as a crucial component of climate change adaptation, which every Filipino household can and should contribute to,” Legarda added.
In an earlier interview, Legarda also recounted her own experience in seed saving.
“Tinatabi ko po yung buto; ito’y tutuyuin ko, ilalagay ko po sa isang latang lumang resikulo, lalagyan ko po ng lupa, lalagyan ko po ng chicken manure at dry leaves, ayan uusbong yan,” Legarda shared.
“Ako rin po ay seed saver, dahil bakit ka bibili ng seedling e kaya mo naman magpausbong ng buto? Sa bawat kinakain, ang dami kong harvest,” she added.
Observed every April 26, International Seeds Day is endorsed by activists, farmers, and advocates around the world campaigning for patent-free seeds, biodiversity, and farmers’ rights. (Vina de Guzman)