The Xingu Seed Network is among the 11 winners of the 2020 Ashden Awards, an international prize for climate solutions. The network was selected from over 200 proposals around the world.
The prize is awarded annually by Ashden, an organization based in the United Kingdom that provides visibility and support to innovative initiatives in the fields of climate and energy around the world – including companies, non-governmental and public sector organizations that deliver proven solutions.
The winners receive a cash prize, support for the development of the initiative and the opportunity to connect with investors from the energy and climate sector.
“These organizations do more than reduce emissions – they create new jobs, improve health and reduce inequality. They are the face of the future,” said Harriet Lamb, the CEO of Ashden.
“It is a recognition of the initiative and the work done over these 13 years of existence,” celebrates Bruna Ferreira, director of the Xingu Seed Network Association.
The Xingu Seeds Network is composed of 568 indigenous and urban collectors and family farmers, mainly women, and has consolidated itself as the largest network for the trading of native seeds in Brazil.
In more than ten years of work, the network and its partners have recovered 6,600 hectares of degraded areas in the Xingu and Araguaia basin and other regions of the Cerrado and the Amazon. To achieve this, over 221 tons of seeds of 220 native species have been used.
The initiative is already a reference for the community production of seeds in Brazil. “It is an alternative income that comes from the forest, promoting environmental and cultural diversity. In the context of the climate emergency, the Seed Network is our best example of a possible future,” emphasizes Bruna Ferreira.
The Xingu Seed Network is supported by the European Union, Conservation International, Partnerships for Forests (P4F), Funbio, Bacuri Institute, Rainforest Foundation Norway, DGM, Good Energies, PPP Ecos/ISPN, and Amaz.
Actions to confront Covid-19
Recognized for their innovative climate solutions, many of the finalists and winners of the Ashden Awards were also congratulated for their rapid and effective responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, including the Xingu Seed Network.
With the advance of Covid-19 in Brazil, the Seed Network has been working to guarantee the health and safety of the collectors and the team. Hygiene and protection kits, as well as materials for seed processing have been sent in the last week.
The seed collection continues within each family or village nucleus, and the delivery is arranged by appointment to avoid agglomerations. In order to ensure the financial sustainability and the isolation of the associates, the Network will make an advance payment for 21 tons of seeds and has extended the amount of the Revolving Fund, which is a credit fund for the collectors.
Despite this, at least five cases of Covid-19 have been recorded and one death – that of Mônica Renhinhãi’õ (photo below) – among the Xavante women collectors from the Marãiwatsédé Indigenous Land. The TI has already registered 25 cases and three deaths.
The Pi’õ Rómnha Ma’ubumrõi’wa group of the Xavante collectors is composed of women collectors and their families. All the collected seeds are destined for the restoration of the areas within and adjacent to the TI. In addition to being an important socioeconomic alternative, the work with seeds is a way of appropriating and protecting the territory, which is threatened by invasions and intensely deforested.
This text was originally published on the website of the Instituto Socioambiental on July 2, 2020