Handling practice in traditional informal seed systems can have influence on quality of the seeds.
An exploration was made of post-harvest handling of pigeon pea farmer saved seed in northern
Tanzania and relation of the practices with measured quality of the seeds. Seed samples with
their prior handling practices were collected from 40 farmers in each of the two pigeon pea
production leading Districts in Tanzania, Babati and Karatu. Laboratory tests were performed to
establish physical quality of the seeds, using ISTA procedures. The study found use of bags
predominating container storage because it is easier and much more convenient. Some farmers in
both bag and container stored seeds were treating their seeds against storage insects; few of them
practiced seed sorting. Effect of storage practice on subsequent quality of seed was very
pronounced, especially on germination capacity. Effects were generally variable with storage
practice, insecticide seed treatment, sorting, and where practiced (District). It is important to
appreciate what farmers consider their convenience in post-harvest seed handling, but efforts
must also be encouraged to safeguard the seed against storage insect pests, to counteract quick
deterioration by proper drying and avoiding moisture absorption during storage, and to elevate
quality by sorting.