ECHO Asia Seed Bank FAQs
So you are thinking of ordering some ECHO Asia seeds...but you still have a few questions!
Please scroll down and see if we have answered your question below. If not, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to respond.
THE SEED BANK
Is the ECHO Asia Seed Bank a business or a seed company?
Neither! ECHO Asia is a non-profit organization with a vision to honor God by providing sustainable hunger solutions for smallholder farmers and gardeners in Asia. The Seed Bank is part of this ministry. The Seed Bank’s purpose is to provide small sample packets of seeds to individuals and organizations working directly with smallholder farmers to jump start their own seed saving practices and promote diversity of crops consumed at the household level.
Because of our Asia focus, these seeds can only be shipped to Asia. If you are in development work in another part of the world, please contact our Global Seed Bank in Florida.
What makes ECHO Asia’s seed unique?
ECHO Asia’s seed collection includes a diverse set of crops that thrive under difficult growing conditions in the tropics and sub-tropics. These seeds represent neglected or underutilized species that are being lost over time and may help alleviate hunger, improve the soil, and produce income in areas where agriculture is difficult.
Our seeds are Open Pollinated Varieties (OPV), meaning they can be saved year after year to promote self-sustaining agriculture systems. We also offer trainings at our Small Farm Resource Center and Seed Bank in Chiang Mai, Thailand and in the Asian region to teach seed saving and seed banking practices to farmers interested in making their agricultural practices more sustainable. See our home page for opportunities to learn more!
Are ECHO Asia seeds treated with any chemicals or contain any neonicotinoids?
Here on our ECHO Asia farm, we avoid synthetic chemicals for our seed production. Instead we use farm-generated pesticides and fertilizers. As a result, our seeds are neonicotinoid free. Please note however that ECHO seed is NOT certified organic.
Are ECHO Asia seeds hybrid or heirloom seeds?
All seeds grown out and saved by our Seed Bank are Open-Pollinated Varieties (OPV) and can be categorized as ‘heirloom’ seed. ECHO seeds are not intentionally bred or crossed to produce hybrid seed and none of our seeds are genetically modified to produce transgenic crops.
Are all the seeds in the catalog adapted to the tropical climate?
Yes. ECHO Asia’s seed collection includes seeds that thrive under difficult growing conditions in the tropics and sub-tropics, specifically within the Asian context. Some of our seed will grow in more temperate zones as well.
If I need more information about a specific seed, how do I contact ECHO Asia?
ECHO has been working steadily over the years to collect all of our knowledge and make it available to you through our ECHOcommunity.org page. So before you contact us, take a look at some of our resources. The answer you are looking for may already be there!
If you are still stuck, then email us your specific question at email@example.com and we will do our best to respond.
MAKING AN ORDER
Are the ECHO Global Seed Bank and the ECHO Asia Seed Bank the same?
Both Seed Banks are connected, however the ECHO Asia Seed Bank exists to serve development workers in Asia ONLY. If you are located elsewhere, please consider ordering from the ECHO Global Seed Bank to avoid having your order cancelled.
However, please note that development workers in Asia are welcome to order from BOTH seed banks as the selection of seeds available from each Seed Bank is not the same.
What are the guidelines for receiving free seed?
10 small sample packets of seeds per year are made available at no charge to those working on behalf of communities in Asia. These trial seeds help farmers evaluate new species that may help alleviate hunger, improve the soil, and produce income in areas where agriculture is difficult.
You can individually select your ten (10) free packets from the ECHO Asia Seed Bank OR you can choose one (1) seed bundle. ECHO Asia offers 6 different seed bundles, each with 10 packets of pre-selected seeds. To receive the promotional code for the discount, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that bulk seeds do NOT qualify for the free seed offer.
If you wish to order more than ten (10) small sample packets, more than one (1) seed bundle, and/or some bulk seeds, these will be charged full price.
How can I order bulk seed? Is there a special bulk price?
A key focus of ECHO Asia is the capacity building of smallholder farmers and the facilitation of improved seed saving practices. As a result, we do not produce high volume but instead try to equip our network to become self-sufficient.
However, for some Green Manure/Cover Crop (GMCC) species, we may be able to supply a larger amount. The availability of bulk seed is variable, so it is best to check the ECHO Asia Seed Bank bulk seed options directly for up-to-date information.
As for price, the amounts listed online represent the real cost of seed production, processing, storage, and packaging. This is our best fair price.
How does payment and shipping work?
When an order comes in to the ECHO Asia Seed Bank, our staff checks to ensure that the order can be filled. Like any farmer, our seed production is dependent on the weather and can be impacted by unseasonal cold, flooding, drought, as well as insect problems. Therefore, there are times when we cannot fill an order as requested. Orders are filled based on seed availability and on the basis of first come, first served.
Next, staff investigate the shipping cost. If you ONLY ordered your ten free small sample packets, then the shipping is free! However, all other orders will incur a shipping cost.
If seeds are being shipped within Thailand, the cost is minimal; however, shipping to other Asian countries varies significantly. Once the cost is clarified, you will be contacted with a final total. NOW payment can be made...and the seeds will be sent. Please do NOT make a payment until you have received this invoice from the ECHO Asia Seed Bank staff.
For orders within Thailand, seeds are mailed through Regular Parcel Service only (approx. 1-7 business days, not including weekends and holidays). For orders to other parts of Asia, seeds are mailed via Airmail only (approx. 7-14 business days, not including weekends and holidays).
What seeds are allowed into my country? Can I obtain a phytosanitary certificate?
The movement of seeds and plant material varies from country to country depending on each country's importation regulations. Contact your ministry of agriculture for a list of prohibited or restricted plant species. Sometimes seeds are allowed even when plant material is not. In Asia, sometimes the local post office worker can also provide this information.
The ECHO Asia Seed Bank is not responsible for phytosanitary certificates or plant import permits in most cases (though this can be arranged upon special request). Customers receiving seed outside of Thailand must be familiar with their country’s policies regarding the importation of foreign plant and seed material.
However, the ECHO Global Seed Bank is able to obtain phytosanitary certificates for seeds. This process takes at least two weeks, so please allow time for order processing as well as certification. Often it is necessary to obtain a seed import permit from the importing country before a phytosanitary certificate can be issued. If you think you require a phytosanitary certificate, please contact the Global Seed Bank directly at email@example.com.