Seeds and Schools

Lead Organization:

Fundacion para el Desarrollo Agrario

Community of Practice:

Andes

Countries:

Peru

Duration:

5/2016—5/2019

Overview:

The expert management of the vast agrobiodiversity of native crops in the Andes has been essential to the survival of Andean farmers over the millennia in an often harsh and variable mountain climate. It is forecasted that agricultural productivity in the Peruvian Andes will fall between 10-20%  with the increase of 3°C that is predicted to occur by 2050, thus the examples of genetic and cultural erosion that have been documented among many Andean people is worrisome. Farmers’ conservation practices for their native crops, which contribute to “evolutionary resilience”, need to be better understood as well as improved and supported going forward. There are many studies on the conservation of diversity of native varieties of crops in Andean regions of Peru, but few that quantify intraspecific diversity. In terms of traditional seed exchange systems in Andean crops, there are studies that date back to the 1990s, but few have been made across spatial scales in the context of future climate scenarios, and even fewer have been incorporated into conservation proposals based on the management of agrobiodiversity. Therefore, it is necessary to document the socio-cultural and ecological factors underlying the management of intra-specific crop diversity for both its recovery, as well as to inform new local strategies for climate change adaptation. Cultural erosion processes are affecting the intergenerational transmission of knowledge, which is mainly oral in Andean cultures. School plays a role in the transmission of knowledge to young people, although in general school devalues the local knowledge present in rural areas. This project aims to leverage the work done among participating institutions that have studied the mechanisms of transmission of knowledge at school by using intercultural approaches and incorporating ancestral traditions and knowledge and its relation to farmers and local authorities.

Grant Aims:

The aim of the project is to generate knowledge about the relationship between systems management and conservation of native plant agrobiodiversity (potato and associated crops) with special emphasis on exchange (or networks) of seeds, of traditional knowledge in three sites: the Northern Andes (Piura) Central Andes (Huanuco) and Southern (Apurimac).  In a context of increasing environmental vulnerability due to climate change, this project will establish bridges of communication and exchange with local schools to highlight the role of these in the transmission of knowledge, especially in relation to the flow of seeds. The project will promote greater generation and dissemination of comprehensive public policies that contribute to enhancing these processes to ensure the resilience and sustainability of Andean farming communities, crop productivity, and food security for present and future generations as part of adaptation to climate change.The project’s objects and corresponding outcomes are as follows:To contribute to the knowledge of the underpinning mechanisms of in-situ conservation of agrobiodiversity, its components and the associated traditional knowledge, with special emphasis on exchange (or networks) of seeds in the context of environmental uncertainty typical of high mountains now under the climate change.To promote mechanisms of transmission of knowledge related to native plant agrobiodiversity from conservationists and rural farmers to youth and school children of Andean communities.To promote the formulation of public policies that favor the strengthening of local Andean experience in managing agrobiodiversity and the role of schools in the transmission of traditional knowledge related to it in a context of climate change in Andean region.