Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mae Yao Seed Fair

The second seed fair related to the CRSP Hort Exploratory grant awarded to Pennsylvania State University, ECHO and Mae Jo University was held in the remote Mae Yao area of Chiang Rai province (northern Thailand) on February 29. Similar to the first seed swap event held a month prior in the Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai, 30 persons (22 women and eight men) from four local communities brought seeds for exchange. The half-day event included registration and a brief training/discussion related to improved seed production and saving techniques.

In comparison to the Chiang Dao activity, the CRSP team noticed significantly more interaction and exchange of seeds among the Mae Yao participants. As there is greater distance between the four communities that were represented as well as more ethnic diversity (i.e. Black Lahu, Yellow Lahu and Akha), seeds saved from garden crops being grown in that area might be more diverse compared to those in the Palaung communities of Chiang Dao. If so, greater crop diversity may have stimulated more interest in seed exchange.

The final CRSP-sponsored seed fair will be held in Cambodia during the last week of March.

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