Kew's 'Difficult' Seeds Project held four Training Workshops, two in English in Kenya and Botswana, and two in French in Burkina Faso and Morocco. These were designed to address priority areas identified during the Stakeholder Workshops.
Gene bank technicians from 48 institutes in 38 countries were trained in essential seed conservation theory and hands-on practice. The workshops also included opportunities for gene bank staff to engage with farmers and community representatives from the four host countries.
Feedback from participants
The Training Workshops were well received and either met or exceeded the expectations of the majority of participants. When asked what was the most useful thing they learnt of all the subjects covered in the workshops, participants listed topics including breaking seed dormancy, understanding drying to maintain viability and maximum longevity, and the categories of seed storage behaviour.
…I will manage to solve problems I encountered before the course, and with what I have learnt, I will train others...Participant on the Botswana Training Workshop
Each training workshop included a 2-day mini-workshop for local farmers and community representatives, with the aim of supporting and facilitating gene banks to engage with farmers. Participants from the host countries provided informal translation and facilitated interactions between farmers and gene bank staff.
The farmers described their seed handling activities and any problems they encounter, and likewise the international gene bank staff were able to share information on how farmers handle seeds in their home countries. Participants were provided with resource materials to adapt for their own training activities with farmers.
Conclusions and recommendations
- There is a demand for Kew to continue to provide such training.
- In some regions, there is a need for follow-up training on dormancy-breaking techniques for crop wild relatives and under-utilised species.
- There is a need to build the knowledge, skills and technical capacity of regional resource persons/institutes.
- Longer-term efforts are needed to strengthen the curricula of relevant university and HE/Diploma courses.
- Additional funding is needed to provide essential equipment and consumables to improve seed handling, drying and storage, and to enable gene banks to monitor viability of collections.
- Demands for an information exchange network and sources of information about the seed biology of the identified ‘difficult’ species will be addressed by the ‘Difficult’ Seeds Project website.
Summary Report of Training Workshops
Read a summary report (pdf) of the Training Workshops, including participant feedback and suggestions for onward activities of the 'Difficult' Seeds Project.
Training Workshops Map
See a larger map of the countries represented (Pdf) at English-speaking workshops in Kenya and Botswana and French-speaking workshops in Burkina Faso and Morocco.
Browse our training resources, developed for the Training Workshops, covering the essential theory and practice of seed conservation.
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