International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - Second Cycle

Establishment of a preliminary network of community seed banks in vulnerable regions of Guatemala to provide seed in the event of a natural disaster
GUATEMALA IS AMONG THE WORLD’S TOP 10 countries in terms of vulnerability to natural disasters. Models predict that small-scale farmers, particularly those engaged in rain-fed agricultural practices, will be the most affected.  Therefore, the adoption of adaptation and mitigation strategies is vital for guaranteeing the livelihoods of local communities. Activities to safeguard genetic diversity in Guatemala and guarantee material for base broadening activities are being carried out by conserving local biodiversity in seed banks. This BSF project will promote in situ and ex situ conservation of agricultural biodiversity and build synergies between Universities, the National Institute for Agricultural Research, NGOs, women’s associations, farmers groups and international organizations. Household surveys have been undertaken to assess: farmers’ storage practices, levels of seeds availability and sowing practices, and to document their climate change perceptions and related coping strategies. Genetic diversity in farmer’s fields has been documented, resulting in the collection, evaluation and characterization of samples of maize and beans.  Our partners are documenting the existing genetic diversity of maize and beans in the project sites using the in situ conservation index (ICi) that has resulted in 44 samples of maize and beans analyzed against 10 qualitative and quantitative traits. Identified data on native genetic diversity has been entered in databases.  The Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Agrícolas (ICTA) scientists are breeding seeds in order to preserve the genetic diversity present in farmers’ fields and to make available genetic material for community seed banks. In addition, a Seed Bank Committee has been established.�
Beans, Maize
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Target Countries: Guatemala
Implementing institution: Universidad del Valle de Guatemala

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