ESAFF Uganda recognizes that agriculture production depends on seeds and over the years, small-scale farmers especially women who take up 80% in the production still actively engage in the management, selection, planting, multiplication, preservation, exchange and conservation of indigenous seed using their inter-generational knowledge, experience and skills. Today, the seed sector is divided into two major systems: the formal and informal seed systems. The “Informal” seed sector has remained influential in terms of the numbers of small-scale farmers using and depending on it while the formal seed sector, enforced by public and private law and corporate interests, is dominant and tends to marginalize and rule out the informal system.  Access to seeds and the ability to not only choose them but also to produce, store, use, exchange, and sell them is still a crucial issue for small farmers therefore ESAFF Uganda is ensuring that small scale farmers are empowered through putting up considerable innovations that capacitate them to protect and maintain the indigenous knowledge, adaptability, utilization advantages and other parameters which make the informal seed sector attractive. These include;

Promoting Participatory Plant Breeding(PPB) using the Farmer Field School(FFS) approach

ESAFF Uganda is supporting small scale farmers in Adjumani, Amuria and Apac district to maintain and further develop genetic diversity to improve food and nutrition and adapt to the changing climate through participatory plant breeding using the farmer field school approach. Under this, small scale farmers work together to select, adapt and develop new plant varieties that are suitable for their needs and preferences either through participatory variety selection or participatory variety enhancement.   So far, 31 farmer field schools have been established 14 of which are engaged in variety enhancement and 17 in variety selection of different crops i.e. maize, rice, beans, groundnuts, soybeans and millet.  Through these farmer field schools, using specific modules like the Gender Journey Module(GJM) small scale farmers especially women have been able to transmute gender relations at all levels through strengthening their roles in leadership, participation and decision making in selection of crop varieties that meet their preferences and needs. 

Utilization of local food plants for nutrition using the farmer field school; Further, using Farmer Field school approach, ESAFF Uganda has established 21 FFS in the districts of Amuria, Apac and Adjumani in the bid to promote the utilization of local food plants to ensure food and nutrition security. In these Farmer Field Schools farmers share knowledge on the role of the different local food plants including the reasons for their disappearance. Using some of tools in the farmer field schools they develop solutions to address the bottlenecks where they later make the different plants available to the communities through various activities such as food and seed fairs, cookery demonstrations among others. More to that ESAFF Uganda established Women and Youth Neglected and Underutilized (NUS) networks that include elderly, youth with an aim of sharing intergenerational knowledge on the role of local food plants.

ESAFF Uganda has been implementing models like Community Managed Seed Security model (CMSS) that protect the seed security and sovereignty of smallholder farmers. The model mainly aims at providing farmers with a practical, harmonized and systematic approach of promoting community-led seed security to improve agricultural productivity and seed sovereignty of small scale farmers through increased access to affordable good quality seed of their choice from a trusted source and within a timely manner.; this was done in Gulu district, northern Uganda.  The CMSS model looks at understanding seed, seed identification and management, agronomic practices post-harvest management, quality control, procurement and seed multiplication. 

Promoting the conservation and preservation of genetic diversity through the construction of Community Seed Banks(CSBS)

To enhance small scale farmers’ efforts to access good quality seed adapted to the prevailing climate conditions, including biotic stresses; ESAFF Uganda established 4 community seed banks i.e. Orungo community seed bank in Amuria district, Pakele community seed bank in Adjumani district, Apac community seed bank in Apac district and Ongako community seed bank in Gulu district

Creating an enabling policy environment to promote of farmer seed rights.

Working with different stakeholders in the agriculture sector, ESAFF Uganda ensures that small scale farmers and their perspectives are well alluded in seed related policy processes and programs. ESAFF Uganda ensures this through according small scale farmers a platform to engage in media engagements such as radio talk shows, dialogues, where they get to interface with policy makers and inform their position on seed related policies.

Key Achievements

  1. ESAFF Uganda developed a practical community seed bank guide for small-scale farmers. The guide enables small-scale farming communities to increase their knowledge of the importance of saving seeds and setting up and managing community seed banks to diversify and sustainably enhance their access to seeds for improved food and nutritional security.

  2. ESAFF Uganda has established four community seed banks in Apac, Amuria, Gulu and Adjumani. These have collected and are preserving approximately 540 diverse local genetic diversity and new varieties coming from breeding programs.

  3. ESAFF Uganda has further established a linkage between Farmer Field Schools(FFS), Community Seed Banks(CSB), communities and the National Gene Bank (NGB) with an aim of increasing access, overall seed supply and knowledge sharing amongst small scale farmers in the community.

  4. ESAFF Uganda has increased awareness on the role of local food plants in ensuring food/nutrition security in communities. ESAFF Uganda has impacted 669 households with improved nutrition and a reduction on the scarcity period from 4-6 months to 1-3 months of scarcity.

  5. ESAFF Uganda established a national Farmer field school network of  54 functional farmer field schools in 3 districts.


ESAFF Uganda is a small scale farmer initiated and farmer-led movement formed to facilitate processes through which smallholder farmers’ development concerns can be solicited, articulated and ultimately addressed through local, national, regional and international policies and programmes.

ESAFF Uganda Office

Physical Address
Plot 266, Muvule Avenue, Buye – Ntinda, Kampala
P.O Box 34420 Kampala – UGANDA
Telephone: +256-393-347195

We are social
Facebook: ESAFF Uganda
Twitter: @ESAFFUG
YouTube Channel: ESAFF Uganda TV
Linked In: ESAFF Uganda

Write to the National Coordinator
Ms. Nancy M. Walimbwa

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