Jesus the Seed Saver
Jesús Martínez, Quiscamote, Santa Elena, La Paz
"I don’t remember how old I am. I remember the war. We heard it all happening - the bombs and machine guns, but they never arrived here. Thank God.
Jesus’ son, who is also a Jesus - Jesús Martínez Vásquez - shows us some multi-coloured corn they are saving for seed. These are open-pollinated varieties of indigenous corn.
These are seeds that are passed down from generation to generation. Farmers have done this for thousands of years. We save the seeds from the best heads of corn, then we plant them again, when the moon is right, and we’ll get a good harvest of strong corn like the harvest before, as long as it rains.
We grow black corn, yellow and white, and mixed. We know that the seeds from here like our mountain soil. Corn has grown here in these mountains for hundreds of years. The first problem with the commercial corn seed is that you have to buy them. Well, we don’t have the money. It is very productive, but only the first year, then the second year it’s weaker. It’s so weak it’s not worth saving the seed for the second year.
If you want to keep on getting the big hybrid yield, then you need to buy more seed the next year, and the fertilizer and the insecticide. And if you don’t keep your indigenous seeds, then you just have to buy the hybrid seed. So, the best thing is to grow at least some indigenous corn, and keep the seed, or you end up dependent on the seed companies and giving your money to them. Anyway, this is what we use for the tortillas. We eat these with beans, an egg, avocado. We grow two types of beans here, a tiny one and Chinapopo. That’s a tasty bean."
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- Contained in galleries
- Honduras: The Real Face of Jesus