Scientific Publication

An Heuristic Framework for Identifying Multiple Ways of Supporting the Conservation and Use of Traditional Crop Varieties within the Agricultural Production System

This paper reviews and discusses how studies on (i) on-farm diversity assessment, (ii) access to diversity and information, (iii) extent of use of available materials and information, and (iv) benefits obtained by the farmer or farming community from their use of local crop diversity, are necessary to identify the different ways of supporting farmers and farming communities in the maintenance of traditional varieties and crop genetic diversity within their production systems. Throughout this paper two key themes are emphasized. First, any description or analysis within the four main areas (assessment, access, use and benefit) can, and most probably will, lead to a number of different actions. Second, the decision to implement a particular action, and therefore its success, will depend on farmers and the farming community having the knowledge and leadership capacity to evaluate the benefits that this action will have for them. This in turn emphasizes the importance of activities (whether by local, national and international organizations and agencies) of strengthening local institutions so as to enable farmers to take a greater role in the management of their resources