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Onion and bell pepper production in Uruguay takes place mainly in Canelones department, to the South of the country, where thanks to the keeping and conservation of native seeds, different genetic improvement lines have been developed, through which urban populations are supplied.
The Agronomy School of the University of the Republic was involved in this process, but it wouldn´t have been possible without the collaboration and commitment of family farmers, who have kept their own seeds for generations and decades.
Daniel Gandini was interviewed by Real World Radio about this, about the meaning of the process and the current threats against native seeds. Especially, he made reference to the transformation process of peasant seeds into a financial business more than a right, which is the basis of a human right such as Adequate Food.
“It´s great seeing so many people mobilized around native seed rights. My area, Pantanoso, was the place of origin of the onion seed with this name, which has been in the hands of my family for over 50 years. We selected and multiplied the seed year after year. I learned this from experience and others have been able to use the seeds throughout the years”, said Gandini.
Even though he is retired and lives in Sauce city, Daniel is very aware of the conflicts around genetic resources and advocates for seeds to be in the hands of peasants, not transnational seed companies and financial investment funds.
“One knows how the seed behaves in each weather, with each irrigation system. If you buy a hybrid seed, you don´t know how it will respond to the conditions in your farm. Native seeds ensure good yield and excellent quality”.
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