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seminar write up

seminar write up

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Published by ABID H

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Published by: ABID H on Sep 03, 2008
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11/12/2012

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UNDEREXPLOITED FLOWERS
INTRODUCTION: 
The use of the term "underutilized" or "underused" raises inevitably questions onwhat it is exactly meant by such terms, having thus repercussions on the understanding of which are those species falling into such a category. Some definitions need therefore to be given in order to avoid possible mis-interpretations.According to IPGRI (Padulosi 1998) underutilized crops are
those species grownin local production systems, where they are highly adapted to a range of ecological niches
. What makes them different from other crops (‘major’) is the fact that
their economic potentials have been poorly addressed, thus their role is confined into mostlytraditional/local uses
only. The word "underutilized" however does not explicitly carrywith it those concepts that need to be stressed when addressing these species: morespecifically, it does not highlight the fact that these species are often poorly addressed byresearch and conservation efforts. Another term, "neglected", is therefore often used tostress such points, but this word itself is generally interpreted as loaded with somenegative significance ("
if it is neglected it must be for a good reasons
.") as it has beenrecently reiterated during a recent IPGRI-EUCARPIA Workshop on underutilized speciesheld few days ago in Viterbo, Italy). The term "underutilized" is therefore generally preferred over "neglected". The use of the term "minor crops" is also rather frequent in
 
literature and aims usually at stressing that the level of use (extent of cultivation and/or total yield = a major crop can be certainly a crop whose yield is small but its economicimpact very relevant) of the species is considerably lower than that of major crops, whoseimportance in the global agricultural scenario is easily understood.Underutilized species have never commanded great attention from national andinternational agencies /centres dealing with improvement, use and conservation of plantgenetic resources. The core argument that is being sustained in favor of their promotiontoday, is that such species are indeed
being cultivated and used in small areas or harvested directly from the wild by indigenous communities as source of food, feed, shelter, medicine, contributing thus to improve in various ways the quality of life intraditional agricultural and forest systems.
They are therefore useful species (and not justcrops) and contribute consistently to the well being of humankind. It is such acontribution to our life that need to be acknowledged while proper measures must betaken in order to ensure that these genetic resources are properly safeguarded andemployed for today’s and future’s generations.The status of conservation of underutilized species raises great concerns withinthe plant genetic resources conservation community in view of the fact that over the lasttwenty years efforts spent to conserve these resources have been focusing only on major crops, due to their greater economic interests and global diffusion. Extensive collectionsto widen the genetic diversity of such staple crops were needed to allow breeders to produce those high yielding varieties, which ultimately contributed to the green
 
revolution (Pistorius 1997). Such conservation activities contributed to safe landraces andlocal varieties of major staple crops, which were paradoxically under threat of erosion bythe same improved varieties distributed to farmers all over the world (Fowler andMooney 1990). The proper conservation state of underutilized species in germplasmcollections around the world is also questioned as to whether appropriate measures have been taken so far for their rejuvenation, multiplication and evaluation, in view of the lowlevel of priority that these have received in both international and national contexts. 
SCOPE OF UNDERUTILIZED HORTICULTURAL CROPS
In North Eastern and western ghats region, there are wastelands of different kindsviz. sand dunes, ravines, acidic soils, marshy and marginal lands, which are unfit for supporting cultivation of high input demanding crops. Such lands can easily be put touse for growing low input crops in order to diversify the present day agriculture,which is so inevitable in view of the increasing population pressure and fast depletionof natural resources as well as the growing and changing human needs in the region. 
The average productivity of the horticultural crops is just half of the national productivity. As grain farming is proving un-remunerative in the undulatingtopography of hilly tracts, which is deprived of irrigation facilities, despitegovernment of India’s has been putting forth endeavuors to uplift the region, vast potential remains unexploited. It becomes possible to exploit the untapped potentialof the region through location specific horticulture and subsequently expanding the

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