Indigenous Seed Systems and Biocultural Heritage: The Andean Potato Park's Approach to Seed Governance

Book (part) chapter
, 21 pages
Published: February 2022
ISBN: 9783030894054
Product code:21281X
Source publication:
Seeds for Diversity and Inclusion

In the Indigenous worldview, seeds are both biological entities and embodiments of immateriality: knowledge, culture and the sacred. Indigenous seed systems thus codify the human connection to nature. Yet such ‘informal’ systems, whether developed by Indigenous peoples or small-scale farmers, barely surface in policy debates. Krystyna Swiderska and Alejandro Argumedo seek to redress the balance in this detailed study of the principles, values and practices of Indigenous seed systems and governance. While ranging over a number of case studies from Kyrgyzstan to Kenya, their prime focus is the Andean Potato Park in Cusco, Peru—a world centre of origin and domestication of crops such as the potato, quinoa and amaranth. Swiderska and Argumedo describe the Park’s collective and customary governance structure, and the ways of learning, exchange systems, seed banks and more developed by its Quechua farmers. To safeguard the vital Indigenous contribution to seed security and diversity, they conclude, a biocultural rights-based approach to seed governance is required  and  needs further support from policy reform, among other measures.