Liberating Seeds & Sharing the Wealth

Liberating Seeds & Sharing the Wealth

Community members from Buenavista Siguatepeque recently developed a new variety of bean seed. They called it “Little Miracle,” because they hope it will improve not only their lives, but those of their neighbours.

Buenavista Siguatepeque sits 1,500 metres above sea level, in the lush, central Honduran highlands. With 650 inhabitants distributed over about 103 households, Buenavista is a typical farming community. Most families work the land, planting the traditional Honduran staples of corn and beans. All of the families in Buenavista live on an income of about $4 a day.

Lately, families in Buenavista have found it harder to make ends meet: prices for their crops fluctuate on markets they do not control, climate change is making the planting season more unpredictable, and the cost of inputs – like fertilizer and pesticides – keeps rising. Now there is the added threat of genetically modified seeds. Unlike traditional varieties, these “suicide seeds” produce one crop and then become sterile. They also require the use of more chemicals, and most worryingly, they are displacing local, indigenous seeds.

World Accord’s partner, PRR, began working with families in Buenavista seven years ago. PRR helped farmers to establish a local organization, and provided them with training and resources to adopt more sustainable farming methods, and to change to more profitable crops such as vegetables and fruit trees. PRR also trained farmers in Bueanavista on ways to conserve and improve local seed varieties.

At the end of last year the community’s hard work paid off: they produced a variety of bean that is suited to a higher altitude, is more resistant to pests, and produces larger yields. These farmers know that increased yields and more secure production will mean a better diet and better incomes. Many families in this location are now beginning to plant this seed.

Farmers in Buenavista have a broader vision for their work though. The local community association chose to make their “Little Miracle” available to other communities. They hope this will enhance the wellbeing of these communities too. Farmers call this process of releasing or sharing seeds “liberating,” because they believe no one should own the patent to seeds or the right to biodiversity and food security. They hope their work will help bring a better life not only for them, but to their neighbours too.

Buenavista is one of the 13 communities where PRR works with agricultural producers. The work of the community of Buenavista and PRR, are an example of how World Accord and its supporters help bring about tangible change for the good in our world.