A seed ball or seed bomb is a seed that has been wrapped in soil materials usually a mixture of clay and compost after which it is dried. Seed balls are an easy and sustainable way to cultivate plants in a way that provides a larger window of time when the sowing can occur. It is also a convenient dispersal mechanism. Seed market research reports consulting reveals that they have especially been used in arid regions because of their ability to keep the seed safe even in unfavorable conditions.
Primitive options similar to seed balls have been used for a long time and Japanese research conducted in post World War 2 periods developed this increasingly popular product. Today seed bombs are quite popular and are extensively used in guerrilla gardening. This innovation has been well received as a business. Many agriculture based companies along with e-commerce giants like Amazon are now offering these products online and are expanding their customer base with seed bombs. Seed bombs have wide range uses and their popularity is evident by the results of seed industry which shows that they are now used in wedding gifts as well. More than a million hectares of well stocked forests in the United States, Canada, China, Australia and New Zealand demonstrate the success of seed bombs as some of the forests have been established despite seemingly adverse conditions like steep slopes and mines.
Seed balls are being actively promoted in Kenya to solve the problem of deforestation. Kenya is being estimated to cut down 5.5 million trees and shrubs a year. GPS technology is being used to precisely air drop these seed balls from helicopters and airplanes. Kenya’s reforestation project is also seeing a number of helicopter charter companies joining in. Rampant use of seed balls is also expected to lower the cost of planting trees thereby giving Kenyans incentive to do so. Even educational institutions like Kwamwatu Primary School are extensively incorporating the use of seed balls.
The UK sees strong entrepreneurial efforts by eco scientists who have launched Project Maya that has commercialized seed balls by selling them online. These tins contain 20 seed balls each and come in variations that constitute of compost made from different flowers.
India is also among the nations that are adopting the use of seed balls to increase green coverage across the land. Many NGOs and volunteer groups are joining the efforts. Uttishta Bharatha in association with Kartavya and others are taking up the campaign ‘Spare a Day for Nature- Seed Ball Maha Abhiyan’ which aims to build urban forestry. Another NGO Bhumi has launched its Green Movement using seed balls at its forefront.
Across the globe seed balls are gaining popularity not only for the benefit they cause to the environment but also for the convenience of their use. From India to Africa, all regions are augmenting their use with the UK being among the most prominent promoters showing that consumer interaction through commercialization is the way forward. India has immense potential for widespread use. Currently mostly NGOs are promoting the use of seed balls however; government aid will surely magnify their efforts.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications