Counting Beans: Agrobiodiversity, Indigeneity, and Agrarian Reform
In-field conservation of locally domesticated crop varieties ameliorates agrobiodiversity losses, but the interaction among nationally regulated socioeconomic factors at the local scale tends to discourage this. Analyses of household surveys conducted in Ecuador demonstrate that state and nongovernmental institutions interact to discourage cultivation of locally domesticated varieties of beans (Phaseolus spp.). Land privatization, agricultural extension, and credit programs favor market production of introduced modern bean varieties, and locally domesticated varieties are noted for favorable nutrition, culinary, and agroecological qualities. Resolving disconnections between the market and social values for landrace beans may provide agrobiodiversity conservation opportunities.