The idea of a fair of landraces exchange in the S. Paulo State rose within the Seed workgroup of the Council of Organic Production of the S. Paulo State (CPOrg/SP). The Instituto Kairós (of São Paulo) and the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) organized the Fair, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Centro Paula Souza (body responsible for the professional training in the State).
Beyond organizing the fair, the Seed workgroup is discussing the forthcoming legislation about organic seeds.
The I Feira de troca de sementes tradicionais/ crioulas do Estado de São Paulo took place in November the 4th, 2010, in the Espaço Cultural Tendal da Lapa. Participated to the event: Ribeira Valley quilombola (afro-descendant), farmers from Cunha (who, supported by the Serracima NGO, orgnized too a landraces exchange fair), from Botucatu, Ibitinga and Pederneiras (invited by the Associação Biodinâmica), from Itaberà (Coapri co-operative); from the Fazenda Figueira (Minas Gerais), from the S. Paulo metropolitan region (especially from the Embu das Artes and Parelheiros neighborhood).
On the stalls you could find more than 150 etnovarieties of seeds and seedlings: many varieties of maize and beans, not many of rice (these, from the Ribeira Valley and from Cunha), some vegetables varieties (20 from a farmer of Ibitinga, some others from Cunha), seeds and seedlings of different kinds of trees, seedlings of sweet potato, cará, sugar cane and cassava, mainly from the Ribeira Valley.
The fair showed the great wealth of realities within the State, working with landraces. At the same time, demonstrated the challenges to strengthen the event, as the involvement of other groups and the improvement of the number of etnovarieties, especially of the less represented species.
But the main challenge is actually to strengthen the groups engaged with the conservation and use of landraces, that has to bear on the farmers’ commitment and on suitable public policies, as recommended in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.