Social relations and seed transactions among small-scale maize farmers: a case study from the central valleys of Oaxaca, México uri icon


  • This paper explores social arrangements associated with seed transactions among smallscale maize farmers in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, Mexico, a centre of crop genetic diversity. A formal seed distribution system has yet to developed in the region and when seed loss occurs, farmers are faced with costs and difficulties identifying, locating, and obtaining seed of desired varieties. For these reasons, it was hypothesized that there were strong incentives for collective action among farmers to facilitate seed supply. The study found, however, that no seed networks existed among study communities. Instead, farmers acquired seed through different types of seed transactions and social relations. The results suggest that seed flow among communities in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca is a complex process of negotiation and reciprocity, influenced by a variety of agroecological, socioeconomic, and cultural factors

publication date

  • 2002