On February 15, 2024, Slow Food Uganda celebrated the official launch of two community seed banks in Buikwe district. The primary aim of these seed banks is to promote the multiplication and preservation of indigenous seeds among small-scale farmers. The seed banks are strategically located in Nakatyaba Twekembe Food Community and Mukisa Food Community to serve the local communities of Buikwe district.

By establishing these seed banks, Slow Food Uganda aims to support and empower small-scale farmers in the efforts to preserve and multiply indigenous seeds. This initiative recognizes the importance of local agricultural diversity and the role it plays in ensuring food and seed sovereignty and sustainable farming practices.

The launch event attracted over 200 attendees, including a diverse group of stakeholders such as the Local Council 3 Vice Chairperson of Buikwe sub county, Agricultural Officers, Slow Food International president, Edward Mukiibi, Slow Food Uganda board members, agroecology actors, partner organizations, government representatives, and farmers. This joint celebration took place at Natyaba village, Buikwe Subcounty, Buikwe district.

Furthermore, preceding the launch event, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to inaugurate the Mukisa Seedbank at Kalagala village, Ngogwe Sub County, Buikwe district. This ceremonial opening was officiated by esteemed partners, including a representative from Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Uganda and Homeland Organics.

The event included tours of the seedbank facilities and a special exhibition featuring indigenous seed varieties grown by small-scale farmers. These seedbanks are expected to benefit more than 200 seed producers from Ngogwe and Buikwe Sub Counties in Buikwe District, highlighting the growing emphasis of agroecology within these communities.

Furthermore, farmers in these food communities have been brought together and organized into Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) groups by Slow Food Uganda and other like-minded organizations to foster cultivation of seeds organically. This system is designed to establish the necessary standards for ensuring the safety and quality of organic food grown.

Mr. Mbogo Cyrus, the agriculture officer in Buikwe Subcounty, Buikwe District, affirmed his dedication to sustaining support for food communities and driving positive change in the agricultural sector. “We have consistently provided essential extension services to these communities, and I have personally engaged with many of these farmer groups to monitor their activities and address their challenges,” stated Mbogo. He expressed gratitude to Slow Food Uganda for establishing seed banks within his area of operation, emphasizing that this initiative significantly contributes to the community’s development.

The establishment of these two community seed banks has been made possible with the support of the Biovision Foundation, aiming to tackle the challenges associated with biodiversity loss. Local partners, such as the Youth Association for Rural Development (YARD), have also played a significant role in supporting this important work.

The collaboration between these organizations emphasises the collective effort to address the pressing issue of biodiversity loss and promote the conservation of indigenous seeds within the respective communities. This partnership demonstrates a shared commitment to safeguarding local seed diversity and fostering sustainable practices in Uganda.