Publications

Practices and networks supporting the on-farm management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture

Nilsen, L.B.; Subedi, A.; Dulloo, M.E.; Ghosh, K.; Chavez-Tafur, J.; Blundo Canto, G.M.; Boef, W.S. de

Summary

Millions of farmers depend on the use of local crops and varieties for their food and livelihood. These resources constitute a reservoir of alternative traits and characteristics, which allow us to diversify crops, foods and farming methods and provide material for targeted plant breeding. Still, many countries lag behind in providing support to farming communities for the maintenance and use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). A global survey was conducted among a wide range of stakeholders to gain insights into the state of on-farm management (OFM) as a strategy for enhancing the maintenance and sustainable use of PGRFA. The survey showed that a wide range of stakeholders provide de facto support to OFM and that the practices they consider critical are focused on building capabilities in local communities. This supports the fact that the management of crop diversity on farm can be promoted in a variety of ways, depending on the specific context, and that local solutions are needed to successfully support OFM. Partnerships and networks should be considered as one of the critical means to promote OFM, as they involve a diversity of stakeholders working towards common goals. The survey further showed that many respondents currently contribute to existing networks relevant to OFM, but that these networks are mainly nationally or internationally oriented and might therefore exclude crucial local stakeholders, such as community-based organizations. Therefore, mechanisms should be put in place to strengthen the collaboration between stakeholders and networks, especially at the local level.