In Paraíba, community seed banks have been supported by a network of community and farmers' associations, small cooperatives, trade unions, parishes and a local NGO. Currently, Paraíba has a network of more than 240 seed banks, involving 6,561 farming families in 63 municipalities. They conserve seeds of more than 300 varieties of maize, common beans, broad beans, cassava, sunflower and peanuts, as well as fodder and fruit species. The farmers use the banks for various purposes: food, concentrates and fiber, and for medicinal uses. Seed banks function not only as facilities for the safe storage of seeds, but also as places where local farmers' organizations can meet to discuss and exchange seeds and traditional knowledge.
This network has gained political influence and one of its main achievements was the approval in 2002 of Law 7.298/2002, which established the community seed bank program to enable the state government of Paraíba to buy seed of local varieties for distribution to farmers and seed banks. For this purpose, previously only certified seed of improved varieties was allowed. This law has also allowed farmers to use seeds of local varieties to produce food and sell it (through contracts with state government agencies) to public schools and hospitals. Between 2004 and 2010, Paraíba produced more than 180t of food using seeds from 73 local varieties.
- Creating networks
- Local institution
- Social movement, social organisation
- Peasant movement, Peasant organisation