Biotechnology is spreading like wildfire across the globe.
While biotech companies claim that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can feed not only the West, but indeed the entire world, the reality in countries such as Guatemala paints an altogether different picture.
- Pesticides proven unsafe in the US are shipped to countries like Guatemala
- Biotech crops, which dominate agriculture in Guatemala, require high levels of pesticides
- Guatemalan workers often spray heavy pesticides without protection
- Countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia account for 99% of deaths caused by pesticides (World Health Organization, 2012)
So what can smallholder farmers do?
Conserving native seeds is about more than just bringing food to the table. It’s about conserving biodiversity, conserving traditional knowledge, and conserving people’s capacity to take their future into their own hands. We call this food sovereignty and it starts with the conservation of native seeds.
Four Facts About Native Seeds
- They are more resilient to disease than hybrid seeds.
- They are well-adapted to their environment, which means they don’t require pesticides.
- They can resist rainfalls and droughts.
- Unlike many hybrid seeds, they can be saved from one harvest to the next.
At IMAP, we believe that the key to a holistic, abundant food system lies in the very seeds that have fed men, women and children since the beginning of time. Each native seed is a legacy – it contains unparalleled cultural wealth that has evolved over millennia.
Through education and seed conservation, we are helping keep the native seed heritage alive and thriving.