India seed project

“Seeds of Life – Action with Farmers in Uttar Pradesh”, India


The full title of the project is: “Seeds for Life – Action with Farmers in Uttar Pradesh – Indo-Gangetic Plain region to enhance Food Security in the context of Climate Change”. The project has established on-farm seed conservation facilities and practices together with farmers, and introduced other crops such as amaranth and moringa and trained women how to cook with these. New agricultural practices such as SRI (System of Rice Intensification) and improved wheat cultivation practices have been promoted to enhance productivity.

Seeds 8

In one of the clubs nearly all farmers have opted for growing rice with the SRI method – much better suited for a warmer world.


  • 50 Farmers’ Clubs with 600 members, and 150 Self help Groups with 1,730 members, are active and directly benefit from the project (plus 9,300 indirectly).
  • 7 gene banks in function storing 24 rice varieties and 27 wheat varieties plus varieties of pulses, chili, pumpkins and gourds.
  • 800 farmers trained in seed selection and conservation and 22 of them in the process of getting their local seed varieties registered with the PPV&FRA (Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers Rights’ Authority, India).
  • Testing of 21 varieties of rice and 20 of wheat.
  • 89 farmers used System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and 78 used improved wheat cultivation and achieved better yields, lower costs and thus increased profits (increase of 118% for rice and 46% for wheat).
  • More than 1,000 SHG members have been trained to grow and use nutritious moringa and amaranth, which have now become very popular food crops.


  • The project started in May 2012 and ended in October 2015.
  • Implemented by Humana People to People India, Farmers’ Clubs Uttar Pradesh.
  • Project partner: Bioversity International
  • Funded mainly by FAO. The GAIA-Movement co-funds the project through donations from The GAIA-Movement Living Earth Green World Action USA, Inc. and Green World Recycling Ltd.

Open or download the presentation given to the European Seed Association Annual Meeting in Rome, Italy, 9-11 October, 2016 of this project funded by The Gaia-Movement and Bioversity International. Seeds for Life

Read the article published on the website of FAO ( about the Seed for Life project. Spreading-the-benefits-of-agricultural-biodiversity

Open or download the latest update with photos from the seed project (3.5 MB) HPPI Seeds Project update

Open or download the last report with photos from the seed project (4.9 MB). 2012-13 India Seed project

Read here on of the project’s Success Stories:

Ram Gopal Sharma, 41, of Parashurampur village in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh is today a proud owner of 1.5 hectares of high-yielding rice farmland. As one of the several smallholders of the district, Ram benefits from a stable water supply due to the proximity of his land to the Sharda Canal system.

“In June 2012, I became a member of a farmer’s club under the HPPI-run project ‘Seeds for Life’. I mainly grow rice on my land, and since June is the beginning of the rice cultivation season, I latched on to the opportunity,” he says.

Following an initial round of training on Participatory Varietal Selection conducted under the project, Ram and some other members of his farmer’s club, started out with preparation of varietal trials. The training introduced them to different rice varieties and the nurturing techniques they require.

“We followed the growth of the planted rice varieties under close guidance from the HPPI field coordinators and many of the varieties were very successful. Now most of the rice growers here are growing Pusa Basmati, Sugandh-5 and Rajendra Mansoori. Before the launch of the project, our access was limited to the seeds which local seed dealers offered, and we could never rely on the quality,” says Ram.

In order to augment the yield, HPPI also conducted training sessions on System of Rice Intensification (SRI).

“This is the first time we used SRI. It helped us minimize the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and water. Under this system the seedlings are planted one at a time in a line and with proper spacing. This gives ample space for each seedling to develop many more tillers and the field is easier to weed,” says Ram.

“By combined use of SRI and better rice varieties, we have been able to double our yield. Earlier, we used to harvest 12-15 q/ha, and today the figure stands at 35 q/ha,” he adds.

Ram is one of the 2,330 participants engaged under the project, who is today able to afford better education for his children and better quality of food on his table.


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