ISSD Africa, SeedSystem, SCALE
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Seed systems in fragile states differ from seed systems in more stable environments. They need to function amid fluid situations and absorb the effects of market disruptions, displacement and other conflict features while enabling access to a diversity of crops and varieties to support vulnerable populations. When effectively intervening in fragile states, donors, humanitarian agencies and other stakeholders must approach seed-related activities differently than they would in more stable environments. This requires assessing and understanding the context and functioning of the seed system before implementing context-appropriate interventions that, at a minimum, do no harm and, where possible, contribute to peacebuilding initiatives.

Through an ISSD Africa collaboration, Mercy Corps together with SeedSystem have developed a Context Analysis Tool (CAT) to help implementers working in conflict-affected areas of fragile states quickly grasp the environment and circumstances in which seed systems function, and then identify practical entry points for selecting and designing seed interventions.

The CAT provides humanitarian actors working in conflict-affected areas with an analysis process to understand seed systems in conflict settings. It aims to help implementers design effective interventions to support and develop these seed systems, while ensuring that farming community members’ needs drive the seed system strengthening, recovery, and development process.

This guide adopts a stepwise approach – first, it characterizes conflicts, as linked to agriculture and seed systems. Next, it outlines the methodology for assessing context-specific scenarios with the aim to support seed system functioning; then, explores practical programming considerations for seed-related interventions in these challenging scenarios, including whether seed system strengthening can be linked with peacebuilding processes. Finally, it provides specific field-tested tools for conflict analysis and seed security assessment.

Watch the Seed Systems in Fragile States: The Context Analysis Tool promotional video.