The conservation of agrobiodiversity on-farm: questioning the emerging paradigm uri icon

abstract

  • The genetic diversity of traditional varieties of crops is the most economically valuable part of globalbiodiversity and is of paramount importance for future world crop production. The BiodiversityConvention has given a clear mandate for on-farm conservation. However, very little formal researchhas been done and no agreed set of scienti®c principles yet exists for on-farm conservation ofgenetic resources. This lack of scienti®c knowledge has not prevented an explosion of recommendationson how to conserve agrobiodiversity on-farm and it is possible to identify anemerging paradigm. Through a review of some of the assumptions on which this paradigm is based,we clearly show that if attempts to conserve agrobiodiversity on-farm are based on these misconceptions,they are likely to fail. By assessing the present activities of farmers, we propose aresearch agenda to increase the diversity available to farmers and to enhance farmers' capacity tomanage this diversity dynamically. Increasing genetic diversi®cation, combined with farmers' experimentalabilities, and underpinned by the formal system, will ensure greater on-farm conservationof more useful genetic resources

publication date

  • 1997
  • 1997