By: Libby Arcia
Published: 2017-12-04

LACN 3 figure 4

Figure 4. Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea) seeds in winnowing basket and healthy seed plants. Source: Stacy Reader

ECHO technical notes are designed to address important agriculture development issues and to help answer critical questions that impact the delivery of appropriate services.  In this edition we present a short excerpt of “Introducing new seeds overseas”, written by Dr. Martin Price.  This is an important document which helps address a question we are frequently asked by individuals and/or groups traveling on short-term mission or volunteer trips.  What seeds should we take? Or, what will grow best in a particular area of a given country?

Dr. Martin Price is co-founder of ECHO and its first Executive Director. Dr. Price has authored numerous publications in which he shares his vast knowledge and years of expertise on many agriculture subjects.

The complete article is available at

This article explores critical elements to consider when introducing seeds abroad.  Some of the technical aspects regard climatic and soil conditions which would lend themselves to the successful production of cultivars for the particular zones. Other considerations address the social, economic and cultural aspects of food consumption. How do you determine what products appeal to the particular community? What will sell in the market? What is the economic impact on a community to which seeds are given for free? Who should receive and who should distribute free seeds. What is the viability of the seeds?

There is much to learn from an initial visit before deciding what fruits and vegetables will work best for the community.  At stake is not only the success of production but your and your host’s credibility.