In recent years in Guatemala, farmers have been abandoning local varieties of maize in favour of commercial varieties. These varieties are more expensive, do not always develop well with the environmental conditions of the region and do not always respond to the cultural preferences of the communities.
Convinced that the maintenance and permanent evolution of locally adapted genetic resources - through collective and community innovation - are key elements in achieving the resilience of communities and local agro-ecosystems, the Association of Cuchumatanes Organizations (ASOCUCH) in Guatemala undertook the task of halting the loss of agricultural biodiversity. It joined forces with government agencies to implement the Guatemalan component of the Collaborative Program for Participatory Plant Breeding in Mesoamerica (FPMA).
Quilinco's seed reserve currently has 657 accessions(*) of maize and seven other community seed reserves have been established in other communities in the area. 1,000 farmers have been trained in mass selection(**) and seed conservation and a significant increase in the yield of local native breeds has been achieved.
(*) Accession: A distinct, uniquely identifiable sample of seed representing a cultivar, a breeding line or a population and held in storage for conservation and use. (Source: FAO)
(**)Mass selection is the oldest and simplest method of corn improvement; it is also the least expensive and requires the least resources. It is based on the visual selection of phenotypic differences between plants and individual cobs in the corn fields.
- Creating networks
- Local institution
- Peasant movement, Peasant organisation