A bank for local seeds

Starting november 2012
Objectives Make a “seed bank” that would allow farmers to dispose of the seeds needed to grow vegetable gardens, increasing production and profitability while preserving the biodiversity of local seeds.
Project status Completed
Local partner MPA – Mouvement Paysan Acul du Nord
Funded by – Tavola Valdese
– Fonte di Speranza Onlus
– Io Bambino Onlus

The project involved four municipal sections of Acul du Nord, in which Vento di Terra and MPA had already made a partnership program to support agriculture in the period 2011-2012.

Thanks to the project a “bank of local seeds” has been set up, which benefited about 120 extended families, for a total of about 1.400 people. The bank has been a very important instrument to foster a greater level of autonomy to private farmers, in the management of seeds. The possibility to store in airtight silos prevents processes of germination and get moldy and this has allowed the farmers beneficiaries to store, from the harvest of June 2012, an amount of seeds that have been used for sowing in October and November 2013. The availability of the Bank of the seeds has averted the danger that the farmers didn’t have the resources to buy new seeds right in the key period of sowing.

For the preparation of the Bank of seeds a total of 18 airtight silos have been used, 10 of which have been used to create a center of centralized storage in the MPA place, which represents a point of reference for all the farmers’ area, offering internships and work. The central storage can thus accommodate different types of seed, in particular: corn, peas, beans blacks, rice, peanuts, red beans, which are the staple food of the rural families in the area. 2 additional silos were set up in each of the 4 sections involved, Mornet, Camp Louise, Deuxiemme Section and La Soufriere, for a total of 8 silos. This has allowed us to reach a greater number of farmers, involving those who reside in the most isolated sections.

A team of agronomists and agricultural technicians trained local farmers on the process of selection and preparation of seed, through constant field visits. Before storing the seeds inside the silo, it was in fact necessary to make a selection of mother plants, then the fruits and seeds. The farmers have participated in all stages of preparation of the seed: in this way they have acquired the skills to carry out the process in an increasingly self-conscious. Particular attention was paid to the preservation of varietal purity, taking all the necessary precautions to avoid hybridization with different varieties of the same species.

The protection of local seeds and therefore the protection of biodiversity values represent the added value of the project, for the protection of an agricultural model in which the exploitation of the wealth of biodiversity promotes the full food sovereignty of rural families.