This article is open access until January 8th. Read now and learn what a Thinking Group of leading seed system experts advise as critical responses to current and future seed insecurity

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Article information

Louise Sperling, Niels Louwaars, Orlando de Ponti, Melinda Smale, Dieudonne Baributsa, Jacob van Etten,
Viewpoint: COVID-19 and seed security response now and beyond,

Food Policy,
Volume 97,
ISSN 0306-9192,

COVID-19 brings new challenges worldwide, including to smallholder farmers and their seed systems. In response, an escalating number of seed projects are being planned to deliver immediate aid or to alter current seed production programs. A Statement, prepared by diverse seed system experts, aims to steer both the immediate aid (next 1–2 seasons) and more developmental planning (next 1–3 years). The Statement includes 10 short-term and 4 medium-term recommendations, placing emphasis on all seed systems smallholders use: formal, informal, and integrated. It also looks beyond seed per se to the direct information and digital systems that shape remote assessments, data sharing and inclusive feedback. The Statement is prefaced by an introduction that helps contextualize the recommendations, reviews the history of humanitarian seed aid and summarizes the varied response forms that have unfolded over the last three decades.

COVID-19; Seed security; Emergency/development response; Smallholder farmers; Seed systems; Recommendations