10 years ago, in the Parana’ region of Brazil, local seeds almost disappeared. Today, about 100 small farmers are growing, saving and sharing their locally adapted seeds and helping to diversify the varieties that they grow.
One of the big concerns that indigenous farmers have about buying seeds is often the only seeds available to buy are GMOs and they are costly. In this video, one farm organization member says that a 13kg bag (29 pounds) of (GMO) seeds costs about $320 and they may not work. That’s because, the local adaptation of seeds helps insure a higher probability of survival and better yields through ongoing selection. Also, GMO seeds can’t be reused the following year nor can they be shared with other farmers, compounding the higher cost on an annual basis.
In the video, there’s a lively market where the farmers exchange seeds with polka music in the background. If you are not one who enjoys polka or watching videos with subtitles, well, you may not be alone :). I happen to enjoy both.
The 100 family farmers preserving local seeds are fittingly referred to as “guardians of the local seed.”
As one farmer puts into perspective the importance of local seeds: “seeds for me are the beginning of life. The beginning of my children’s lives, they are everything! For us as family farmers, seeds are the source of life.”