Exchange of native avocado germplasm among small-scale farmers in a Mexican village

Authors: Angel Pita-Duque*, Universidad Autonoma Chapingo, Mexico, Mariano Vázquez-Pérez, Centro de Innovación y Desarrollo Integral de Capacidades S.C.
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Rural Geography, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Seed exchange, social network analysis, avocado diversity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 4.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

We conducted a study in Zacapala, Puebla, Mexico to understand the structure and functioning of the social relations involved in the flow of avocado germplasm, through a social network analysis. More than ninety percent of all the exchange events consist of buds of locally selected varieties. Most of the germplasm flow is among farmers with strong social ties regardless of their kinship relationships, which also determines the quantity of avocado germplasm that an individual can obtain from others. A communal norm dictates that the network is open to farmers from Zacapala and the surrounding villages, willing to establish reciprocal cooperative relationships to exchange avocado germplasm. The social network for the avocado germplasm flow has a low density, which allows farmers to have multiple choices of germplasm suppliers. The germplasm flow is not reciprocal among avocado growers and the reception transactions are predominant. Although there are farmers who are both donors and receptors, farmers with a low out degree predominate. The main suppliers of germplasm are the most important intermediaries in the social network as well; they are the most prestigious farmers as creators and stakeholders of the avocado diversity. The farmers who are relevant for the network cohesion conform a different group than the ones with the highest index of germplasm diffusion; the members of both groups are not part of the prestigious farmers cluster. The outcomes of this study shed light on the social capital role in the flow of avocado germplasm in a village sphere.

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