Community-managed seed banks strengthen food security and food sovereignty in Haiti
In Haiti and around the world, the loss of local seed production is undermining small-scale agriculture and the food security and food sovereignty of rural people. Environmental stresses, natural disasters and corporate interests have conspired in recent years to dramatically reduce the number of small farmers who reproduce their own seed. When people can no longer grow their own seed, they have lost control over the biological foundation for their farming livelihoods.
With support from The Haiti Fund at the Boston Foundation and other financial partners, Groundswell International and Partenariat pour le Développement Local (PDL) have responded by working with thousands of Haitian farm families to establish community-managed seed banks that restore control over this essential agriculture resource to farmers, guaranteeing them access to quality seed when they need it.
To date, six community-run seed banks have been created, providing 3,469 Haitian farm families with seed. During the past year alone, these six seed banks have grown and distributed 14,858 five-pound cans of seed – over 74,000 pounds in all! Seeds cultivated by the banks include bean, pigeon pea, guinea bean, peanut, corn, and rice.
Through seed selection and managing rotating seed loans, the quality and volume of seed bank stocks continue to grow, and in 2012 and 2013, Groundswell and PDL will work to help thousands more Haitian farm families to create more seed banks.