Our seed bank has been greatly enriched by seeds sent by overseas members of ECHO’s network. If you have seeds to share, write ahead telling why you think we might be interested and giving as much information as you can. If it is a seed that we could use, we will send a green and yellow mailing label (a plant import permit) issued in our name by the department of agriculture. All you need to do then is put the seeds in a package, identify each packet, and use the permit as your mailing label. The seeds will be forwarded to us after inspection. (You can also get your own permit. See the next note for details.)
We need to be careful. Sitting on my desk at this moment are two containers of seed, each with a different type of adult insect pest crawling all over them, both sent to us from overseas. Fortunately the containers are well sealed and I will be able to destroy the pests.
A related issue -please do not send infested seed or a diseased leaf or soil in an envelope for us to identify. We do not want your problem to get loose at ECHO!
If it is important to know what the insect is and you cannot find someone in-country to identify it, you might be able to send it in alcohol. Be sure it is in a very sturdy and tightly sealed container. However, a description might very well be sufficient. In most cases, precise identification is not important. (ECHO does not have an entomologist on staff and must pass the question on anyway). Given the lack of resources available in most peasant farming situations, it is usually enough, for example, to know that it is some kind of caterpillar or some kind of grain weevil. The low technology options for control that are available are probably generic caterpillar controls or generic weevil controls anyway.
[2015 – it is now best to send pictures electronically!]
Price, M.L. 1992. When You Send Seed to ECHO. ECHO Development Notes no. 37