Community Seed Banks are places designed to protect seeds using a number of in situ (on-site) conservation processes and equipment as preferred by farmers. This strategy for strengthening local seed populations is empowered at the community level by workers who greatly appreciate their natural resources and want to get involved in the process of recovering and preserving natural food sources.

Scarcity or shortage of seeds is one of the primary limitations faced by smallholder farmers in the Guatemalan highlands. This is due to various factors, such as: lack of agricultural technology, poor access to agricultural products, limited availability of suitable land, and especially climate conditions, which in recent years have determined the quality and availability of seeds. Without a doubt, weather conditions affect the reliability of the local population’s food source, which is why Community Seed Banks have been promoted by the Mesoamerican Collaborative Program of Participatory Plant Breeding and its partners, The Foundation for Technological, Agricultural, and Forestry Innovation and the Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology.

This document is a manual on the operational principles for a Community Seed Bank, based on the experiences by Guatamalan communities.

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Original version in Spanish

This publication was made possible by the consortium formed by FUNDIT-ASOCUCH-ICTA for the management, conservation, and use of maize agrobiodiversity in Los Cuchumatanes, Huehuetenango, and with the support of the Norwegian Development Fund (NDF). The original Spanish version of this document was translated by Oxfam Novib.

SD=HS likes to thank the author of this manual, Joya Hermosa and ASOCUCH for sharing this work.