A global survey was conducted among a wide range of stakeholders to gain insight into the state of on-farm management (OFM) as a strategy for enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). The results show that OFM is not considered a priority in national PGRFA programmes (NPGRPs), and that OFM practitioners and their organizations are not always aware of, or involved in, NPGRPs. The survey also highlighted the lack of awareness, understanding and collaboration between OFM practitioners and the managers and policy-makers associated with NPGRPs. The outcome of the analysis supports a hypothesis that OFM is, to a large extent, supported by stakeholders who are not directly engaged in the conservation and use of PGRFA, and therefore not associated with NPGRPs. This should be taken into consideration when seeking to improve the performance and impact of national programmes, and their commitment to safeguard PGRFA and contribute to food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable agriculture.