Nariño Native Corn

Colombia

Nariño

Cereals and flours

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Nariño Native Corn

Talking about the value of corn in the Colombian food system means taking into consideration economic, political, cultural and spiritual aspects. Colombia is considered one of the most important centers of crop diversification in the Americas. Historically it was a place of confluence for Mesoamerican and Andean cultures, and it has one of the richest genetic and cultural heritages when it comes to corn. The indigenous, African-descendant and rural communities have preserved and cultivated native corn varieties within their production systems, and these varieties have taken on an essential role in ensuring the food security and sovereignty of the Colombian population.
The department of Nariño in the southeast of the country, near the border with Ecuador, has richly biodiverse ecosystem and is inhabited by peoples with close cultural ties to corn. Here, the mapping carried out by the Campaña Semillas de Identidad (Campaign for Seeds with Identity) identified nine types of corn with extremely heterogeneous characteristics, from those similar to teosintes (the wild ancestor of all modern corn species), with small pointed kernels, cultivated mainly as animal feed, to those high-yield varieties like Clavo, with hard kernels, sold both by the cob and in soups. Within these 9 types, the mapping work has further identified 45 local varieties. The Presidium will work to promote ten of these, namely: Pira, Pira Naranja, Clavo, maíz dulce, maíz harinoso dentado, montañita, capia, amagaceño, and chocoseño, also known as indio. Twenty-five years ago Colombia was self-sufficient in corn production, but then the government opened to the doors to imported corn, sending small and medium producers into crisis. As a result, Colombia now imports 84% of the corn used for human consumption. And since 2007, Colombia has authorized the use of transgenic corn cultivation for commercial sale, representing anothr great threat: In 2015, In the department of Nariño, the Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida (Network of Guardians of Seeds for Life) carried out studies that showed the transgenic contamination of two varieties of native corn.

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The Presidium was started in 2016 thanks to an alliance between the Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida and Slow Food as part of the project “Slow Food and the Terra Madre Network in Mexico: Actions and prospects in the fight against rural poverty and inequality through promotion and giving value to the local food heritage.” Since 2002, the Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida has been working intensively to save native corn varieties at risk of extinction, and among those mapped it has decided to focus on safeguarding ten varieties, whose seeds have been assigned to the network’s guardian members. The Presidium’s objective is to safeguard Nariño’s native corn varieties through a series of actions. The plan is to boost the production of the ten corn varieties through the safeguarding, reproduction and distribution of the seeds, participatory research to improve the quality of the seeds and promoting the consumption of the heritage varieties. The following varieties have been selected: Capia Blanco (tender and floury, the entire cob is eaten toasted and it is also used for traditional arepas), Capia Rojo, Indio, Cresemillas, Clavo, Morocho Blanco (ancient and greatly appreciated, with a sweet flavor, used for stews and a sweet corn soup called mazamorra), Morocho Amarillo, Canguil Morado (at high risk of extinction, it has small kernels and is primarily used to make popcorn, which is very popular in Nariño), Canguil Amarillo and Chulpe (eaten toasted, as a snack).

Production area
Yacuanquer, Consaca, Pasto, Guachavez, Ipiales, Cartago, Unión and San Lorenzo municipalities, Nariño department

Presidium supported by
Ford Foundation

In collaboration with
Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida - Nariño
40 seed guardians in the Nariño department, affiliated with the Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida
Presidium Coordinator
Alba Marleny Portillo Calvache
Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida - Nariño
Tel. +57 3105905477
rgsemillasdevida@gmail.com
The Presidium was started in 2016 thanks to an alliance between the Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida and Slow Food as part of the project “Slow Food and the Terra Madre Network in Mexico: Actions and prospects in the fight against rural poverty and inequality through promotion and giving value to the local food heritage.” Since 2002, the Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida has been working intensively to save native corn varieties at risk of extinction, and among those mapped it has decided to focus on safeguarding ten varieties, whose seeds have been assigned to the network’s guardian members. The Presidium’s objective is to safeguard Nariño’s native corn varieties through a series of actions. The plan is to boost the production of the ten corn varieties through the safeguarding, reproduction and distribution of the seeds, participatory research to improve the quality of the seeds and promoting the consumption of the heritage varieties. The following varieties have been selected: Capia Blanco (tender and floury, the entire cob is eaten toasted and it is also used for traditional arepas), Capia Rojo, Indio, Cresemillas, Clavo, Morocho Blanco (ancient and greatly appreciated, with a sweet flavor, used for stews and a sweet corn soup called mazamorra), Morocho Amarillo, Canguil Morado (at high risk of extinction, it has small kernels and is primarily used to make popcorn, which is very popular in Nariño), Canguil Amarillo and Chulpe (eaten toasted, as a snack).

Production area
Yacuanquer, Consaca, Pasto, Guachavez, Ipiales, Cartago, Unión and San Lorenzo municipalities, Nariño department

Presidium supported by
Ford Foundation

In collaboration with
Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida - Nariño
40 seed guardians in the Nariño department, affiliated with the Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida
Presidium Coordinator
Alba Marleny Portillo Calvache
Red de Guardianes de Semillas de Vida - Nariño
Tel. +57 3105905477
rgsemillasdevida@gmail.com

Territory

StateColombia
RegionNariño

Other info

CategoriesCereals and flours