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Higher quality seeds can help beat hunger in Africa

Vaccination efforts across the globe encourage hope of an imminent end to the COVID-19 health crisis. But the food security crisis that the pandemic has deepened cannot be alleviated quickly and will require lasting solutions.

Well-adapted and nutrient dense crops like millet, sorghum, groundnut, chickpea, pigeonpea, cowpea and common bean, collectively called dryland cereals and legumes, are like a vaccine of sorts for hunger and under-nutrition. This is because, over time, improved varieties of crops will be able to render farming resilient to climate stresses, help improve nutritional outcomes and improve soil health. In the short run, they boost yields, ensure food sufficiency in farm households and increase earnings.

The pandemic further hit these systems, warranting emergency responses from governments and relief agencies. To ensure quality seed flow in the long run, several interventions have been identified.

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