In autumn 2021, the planned seed house for the protection of biodiversity on Borneo was completed in a settlement in the sub-district of Manuhing Raya, Borneo, in which 100 farmers from three villages can henceforth store the wild seeds collected in the rainforest more safely and permanently. The first training sessions for the Dayak, the forest-dwelling indigenous people of Borneo, on (1) self-replication and (2) management of stored seeds were conducted. Recently, the Borneo Institute team produced a short video that nicely explains the project in the words of those involved.
Now that Standy Christianto and the BIT have completed the first year of their project, they estimate that there must be at least 200 varieties for rice and 50 varieties for maize, cowpea and aubergine in Central Kalimantan. Based on this projection, we were able to help Standy and the BIT to enter into a partnership with the Global Crop Diversity Trust, where the increasingly rare indigenous seeds will be multiplied by the Dayak and then stored in the global seed vault in Svalbard, Norway.
The Dayak are very proud that their efforts to preserve traditional crops and biodiversity are now receiving international attention and appreciation. It encourages them in their quest to stand up to the palm oil industry and maintain their traditional lifestyle.
The final report of the first year of the project can be found on our website.
The forest area of the sub-district Manuhing Raya, where 7 Dayak settlements are located, covers about 30,000 hectares. The seed house that has now been built can be used by three of these settlements. For the 4 remaining villages, a second seed house is to be built next year. For this, we are looking for new partners together with Standy.