PMN logo Planting Material Network increasing self-reliance in agrcultural seed
PMN photos

Page updated
Sun, Oct 7, 2007



Community Seed Saving Emma Stone

community seed saving manual cover

Training tools for Pacific Island Communities

[ Download file ] (pdf 5.23MB)

The operation of the PMN is simple - members request seeds, grow them out to produce food, then return a small supply of the seed they produce to the seed centre. This is grown out and multiplied in the garden and processed, after which it again become available to members.

Because of the risk of spoilage and to maximise seed viability (the quantity that will grow), the Network stores seed for as little time as possible. It is not a 'seed bank' which keeps seed in storage - the farmer's fields are the seed bank in which seeds are continually in a state of growth. High turnover of processed seed maintains viability in the humid, tropical climate of the Solomon Islands.

The Network uses a systematic process to grow, dry, germination test, package, catalogue and distribute seed. This was devised by the PMN's Mary Timothy, Roselyn Kabu Maemouri, Wendy Betsy, Tony Jansen and by Australian trainer, Emma Stone. Emma documented the process in her manual, Community Seed Saving, which is available from the Planting Material Network's Honiara seed centre.


Plant Your Seeds improve your family's health

Solomon Islands Planting material network AusAID Community Peace Restoration Fund

...produced by Russ Grayson

plant yoru seeds brochure cover

Building community security

[ Download file ] (pdf 1.35MB)

The value of the Network to the recovery of communities from conflict or natural disaster was proven in the months following the year 2000 conflict in the Solomons.

The conflict created a massive refugee flow as Malaitan settlers were forced from Guadalcanal by the Isatambu Freedom Movement's guerillas who quickly gained control of the countryside surrounding the capital, Honiara. Forced back to their home villages on Malaita, the challenge was to feed the suddenly-swollen village populations and to establish some measure of food security for the future.

Rising to the challenge, the Australian government's aid agency, AusAID, funded the PMN, through the Community Peace Restoration Fund, to expand the production of seed and to distribute it to families now returned to Malaita as refugees. In Sydney, Russ Grayson from TerraCircle Inc (, got to work to produce an instructional brochure to accompany the seeds that explained how to plant and save them at harvest after most of the plants had been used for food. This was the PMN's first foray into humanitarian aid, having previously focused on long-term development aid.

The experience validated the potential role of community-based seed networks in recovery from conflict and natural disaster. The model would be applicable not only in other South Pacific island states but further afield in Asia. This is a role that deserves further investigation.

© 2007 Planting Material Network | PO Box 742 Honiara SOLOMON ISLANDS | P:  (677) 39551 |
Design: TerraCircle | |