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Colombie / Bogota

Seed custodians in Colombia

RESEMINA, winner of the second call for projects in ‘Biodiversity and local knowledge.’

Diverse plant cultures testify to a mutually-enriching relationship between man and nature. In the face of increasing standardisation in agriculture, the RESEMINA project team helps rural communities in Colombia to safeguard and promote their artisan seed stocks.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Seed custodians in Colombia
© Mauricio García. Campaña Semillas de Identidad, Swissaid

Sweetcorn, rice and beans… Colombia’s regions boast a wide diversity of cultivated plants, as the staple foods for local populations.  Down the ages, growers have exercised stewardship of their seed stocks, selecting and multiplying local varieties. Peasant communities have learned to recognise indigenous plant varieties, selecting and propagating strains that show resistance to drought and local diseases. Today, this biological and cultural diversity is threatened by a lack of recognition and support from local and national authorities. 

Supporting local growers, SWISSAID Colombia’s RESEMINA project works to safeguard agricultural biodiversity and the local knowledge so intimately associated with it. With the backing of the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, the research team aims to reinforce the local network of seed custodians and create fifteen ‘Seed Houses’ enabling local producers to maintain this living, genetic heritage.

The project is rooted in the application of state-of-the-art science for the recognition and promotion of local knowledge.

Growers in pilot zones will establish a register of seeds, evaluate their characteristics and survey local conservation techniques. The RESEMINA project team ensures a systematic, scientific approach, and the dissemination of results via a dedicated information platform. Dialogue and participation are the project’s watchwords: data collected from rural communities will fuel the natural debate and efforts to establish a certification label for artisan seeds.

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Project run by:

José Antonio Gómez, biologist and ethnobiologist.
Mauricio García Álvarez, agronomist specialised in agronomy and rural development
Diana Mejia Gonzalez, agroindustrial engineer specialising in species management and preservation
Patricia Guzmán Aguilera, specialist in international environmental law.