Ghana: On-Farm Conservation of Underutilized Root and Tuber Crops in Community Seed Banking Scheme Farmer Training

Community seed banking initiatives aim to conserve, restore, revitalize, strengthen, and improve local seed systems, particularly local varieties. These initiatives foster dynamic cooperation among farmers and between farmers and other stakeholders in the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity. In Ghana, the Community Seed Banking concept is being piloted for the first time.

In the project's first phase, a Community Seed Bank structure was constructed at Mangoase Senior High School in the Akwapem North District. This facility serves farmers in Mangoase, Adawso, Tinkon, and neighboring areas, aiding in the conservation of local seed varieties.

Why On-Farm Conservation?

A diversity mapping of crop species in the area revealed numerous root and tuber crops, including bananas, requiring sustainable conservation and utilization for food security and livelihood improvement. However, root and tuber crops, including bananas, are vegetatively propagated and cannot be conserved within a seed bank structure. The solution lies in sustainable on-farm conservation and selected farmers have been identified to undertake this task. Thus, the community seed bank project in Ghana uniquely integrates both seed bank conservation and on-farm conservation of root and tuber crops, including bananas.

Training of Farmers

To ensure sustainable on-farm conservation, an intensive one-day training session was held for the selected farmers. This training focused on the modalities and techniques of in-situ/on-farm conservation of neglected and underutilized root and tuber crops under the community seed banking concept. On-farm conservation involves the sustainable management of genetic diversity of traditional crop varieties and their wild forms by farmers within traditional agricultural, horticultural, or agri-silvicultural systems.

Farmers training

Thirty-five farmers from Adawso, Mangoase, and Tinkon participated in the workshop. They were trained on technologies and procedures for sustainably producing and conserving key root and tuber crops, including cassava, plantain, yam, sweet potato, taro, cocoyam, and tigernuts. The training also covered potential challenges in on-farm conservation and strategies to overcome them.

The workshop was organized by NUS Network Ghana under a community seed banking project supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ghana, in collaboration with Bioversity and CIAT.

In his post-training remarks, Dr. Daniel Nyadanu, coordinator of NUS Network and one of the workshop's resource persons, emphasized that successful on-farm conservation by farmers would create a diverse crop ecology in the Akwapem North District, promoting food security. He stressed the importance of extending this training to other districts to achieve broader national food and nutrition security objectives.

Dr. Richard Adu Amoah, Research Scientist at CSIR-PGRRI and a team member of NUS Network, highlighted the versatility and importance of sweet potato for food security due to its high dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidant compounds. He noted that on-farm conservation of sweet potato ensures greater access to genetic diversity, lowers conservation costs, reduces vulnerability to losses, and promotes sustainable management.

Mr. Prince Pobee, a resource person and team member of NUS Network, reiterated the need for activities that educate farmers on the modalities for conserving root and tuber crops on-farm, stating that the workshop successfully served this purpose.

Farmers praised the workshop organizers for bridging their knowledge gap in sustainable on-farm conservation to enhance their productivity.


The successful training of farmers in Akwapem North District marks a significant step towards sustainable on-farm conservation of underutilized root and tuber crops. By equipping farmers with the necessary skills and knowledge, the community seed banking project is poised to enhance food security and biodiversity in the region. The initiative's unique integration of seed bank and on-farm conservation strategies sets a valuable precedent for similar projects across Ghana and beyond.

NUS Network Ghana is eager to collaborate with partners and stakeholders to stock up the seed bank and expand the concept to other districts, fostering a broader impact on national food and nutrition security. Together, we can build resilient agricultural systems that support local communities and preserve invaluable crop diversity for future generations.


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