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Towards a methodology for on-farm conservation of plant genetic


Article  in  Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution · February 2002

DOI: 10.1023/A:1013896401710


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Luigi Guarino
Global Crop Diversity Trust


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Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 49: 31–46, 2002.
© 2002 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

Towards a methodology for on-farm conservation of plant genetic


N. Maxted1,∗ , L. Guarino2 , L. Myer3 and E.A. Chiwona4

1 The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK; 2 International Plant Genetic Resources
Institute, Regional Office for the Americas, c/o CIAT, A.A. 6713 , Cali, Colombia; 3 Department of Social Anthropo-
logy, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7700, South Africa; 4 Malawi Plant Genetic Resources Centre, Chitedze
Agricultural Research Station, P O Box 158, Lilongwe, Malawi; ∗ Author for correspondence (fax: 121-414-5463;

Received 24 December 1999; accepted in revised form 21 November 2000

Key words: conservation, in situ, land races, methodology, on-farm, PGR

The signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity at the “Earth Summit” in 1992, its ratification and its
subsequent entering into force have highlighted the need for an approach to biodiversity conservation that employs
both ex situ and in situ techniques in a complementary manner. Though much research has focused on ex situ
techniques, less progress has been made in developing methodologies for the conservation of genetic diversity
in situ. The definition of in situ conservation used in the Convention on Biological Diversity encompasses two
distinct processes: conservation of wild species in genetic reserves and of crops on-farm. Of these two, the latter,
where the genetic diversity of crop land races is conserved within traditional farming systems, has been the less
studied and remains less well understood. While there are still relatively few practical examples of on-farm genetic
resources conservation, most genetic diversity of immediate and potential use to plant breeders is found among
land races, and there is evidence that it is being rapidly eroded. This paper attempts to set on-farm conservation
within the context of plant genetic resource conservation as a whole, to introduces a possible generalised model for
the conservation of genetic diversity on-farm and to promote debate around the science of on-farm conservation.

Introduction ity that can arise from its exploitation in improved

agricultural and horticultural crops, because of the po-
The critical challenge facing the world’s conservation tential for development of new medicinal and other
scientists is threefold: to study and classify biological products and because of the pivotal role played by
diversity, to halt the rate of loss of ecosystems, species plants in the functioning of all natural ecosystems. It
and genetic diversity, and to feed the ever increas- is generally agreed that a dramatic loss of plant ge-
ing human population (Maxted et al. 1997a). This netic diversity is occurring, and this process seems
is reflected in the objectives of the Convention on likely to become even more grave in the future (Raven
Biological Diversity (CBD): and McNeely 1998; Crucible II Group 2000). Ge-
netic erosion (loss of genetic diversity) is particularly
The objectives of this convention ... are the con-
severe among land races of crop species (FAO 1998).
servation of biological diversity, the sustainable
Plant breeders throughout the world are rightly en-
use of its components and the fair and equitable
gaged in developing better and higher yielding cul-
sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation
tivars of crop plants. Their adoption results in at least
of genetic resources. . . Article 1 - CBD (UNCED
the partial replacement of the generally genetically
variable, lower yielding, locally adapted strains or
The conservation of plant diversity is of critical land races grown traditionally. Thus, uniformity is
importance, because of the direct benefits to human- replacing diversity. These same plant breeders are,

however, dependent upon the availability of a pool of not, however, attempting to be prescriptive or to imply
diverse genetic material for success in their work, and that any single methodology would be appropriate for
thus are, at least partially, causing the genetic erosion all situation. In fact we believe the application of a
of plant diversity that they themselves will need in single methodology would be inappropriate because of
the future. Hawkes et al. (2000) refer to this as the the heterogeneity in crops, farming practices and eco-
conservation/development paradox. nomic systems involved. We simply wish to provide
Awareness of the increasing threats to biodiversity a framework for conservation managers to explore the
and of the scientific problems associated with con- science of on-farm conservation, as well as promoting
servation and sustainable utilisation have highlighted further debate of the issues involved.
the need for more efficient and effective protocols and
methodologies. The need for increased efficiency of
conservation effort, particularly in the field of in situ Plant genetic resources conservation
conservation, is also expressed in the Convention on
Biological Diversity, which calls on nations to: The raw materials of plant genetic resource conser-
Develop, where necessary, guidelines for the se- vation are genes within gene pools, the total genetic
lection, establishment and management of protec- diversity of the particular plant taxon being conserved.
ted areas or areas where special measures need to The product of gene pool conservation is utilised or
be taken to conserve biological diversity. Article 8 potentially utilisable genetic diversity. Conservation
– CBD (UNCED 1992) is the process that actively retains and manages the
diversity of the gene pool with a view to actual or po-
This requirement is particularly important with re- tential utilisation. Maxted et al. (1997a) have proposed
gard to on-farm conservation, which aims to conserve a model which attempts to make explicit the fun-
genetic diversity in crops. Although little practical damental elements of genetic resource conservation,
work has been undertaken in developing models for and the interrelations among them. This model dis-
the conservation of genetic diversity of wild species tinguishes two primary complementary conservation
in reserves, much experience of species- and habitat- strategies, ex situ and in situ, each of which includes a
level conservation is available, and the underlying range of different techniques that can be implemen-
techniques are likely to be analogous for conservation ted to achieve the aim of the strategy. The point is
at the genetic level. In contrast, there are no analogous stressed by Maxted et al. (1997a) that no one conserva-
models or exemplar studies for on-farm conservation tion technique alone can effectively conserve the gene
of genetic diversity of traditional crops. pool, greater biodiversity security results from the ap-
There is, therefore, an urgent requirement to clarify plication of a range of ex situ and in situ techniques
and enhance the methodologies and science associ- applied in a complementary manner. One technique
ated with on-farm conservation (Fowler et al. 1999). acting as a backup to the other techniques. Having
For conservationists to be able to intervene effectively emphasised the need for a complementary approach
and efficiently, it would clearly be helpful to have ba- to conserving the gene pool this paper focuses on one
sic guidelines at their disposal for the development technique, on-farm conservation.
of on-farm conservation activities, in the same way In situ conservation is defined by the Convention
as guidelines are available for various aspects of ex on Biological Diversity as follows:
situ conservation, e.g. germplasm collecting, storage
In situ conservation means the conservation of
in cold rooms and regeneration protocols. The genesis
ecosystems and natural habitats and the mainten-
of this paper arose out of a request for such a pro-
ance and recovery of viable populations of species
tocol. During a plant genetic resource training course
in their natural surroundings and, in the case of
given in South Africa in 1997, the trainees repeatedly
domesticates or cultivated species, in the surround-
asked the question: how do you we actually do on-
ings where they have developed their distinctive
farm conservation? Therefore this paper is meant as
properties. Article 2 – CBD (UNCED 1992)
a contribution to the process of providing a practical
framework which national plant genetic resource pro- This definition thus includes two distinct con-
grammes and others can use as they develop plans cepts (and techniques), which may be distinguished
for effective on-farm conservation projects. In sug- as “genetic reserve conservation” and “on-farm con-
gesting a generalised protocol or methodology we are servation.” Both involve the maintenance of genetic

diversity in the locations where it is encountered (i.e., is likely to be relatively similar to the land race as
in situ), but the former primarily deal with wild species it is likely to come from local farms. Therefore, the
in natural habitats/ecosystems and the latter domestic- immigration of alien genetic diversity is unlikely to
ated species in traditional farming systems. Maxted et eradicate locally adapted diversity due to farmer and
al. (1997b) provide the following working definitions local environmental selection pressures.
for the two activities: Although it is possible to provide a single work-
ing definition of on-farm conservation, the literature
Genetic Reserve Conservation: the location, man-
highlights a distinction in focus between at least two
agement and monitoring of genetic diversity in
distinct, but associated, activities that are currently
natural wild populations within defined areas des- both referred to as on-farm conservation. The dis-
ignated for active, long-term conservation.
tinction between the two is based on whether the
On-farm Conservation: the sustainable manage- focus is the conservation of genetic diversity within
ment of genetic diversity of locally developed a particular farming system or the conservation of the
crop varieties (land races), with associated wild
traditional farming system itself, irrespective of what
and weedy species or forms, by farmers within happens to the genetic diversity of land races material
traditional agricultural, horticultural or agri-
within the farming system. An important distinction
silvicultural systems.
that was debated at the recent European Cooperative
On-farm conservation involves the maintenance of Programme for Genetic Resources Task Force meet-
traditional crop varieties (generally known as "land ing on In situ and On-farm Conservation meeting
races") or cropping systems by farmers within tradi- (Laliberté et al. 2000). These two variants of on-farm
tional agricultural systems (Altieri and Merrick 1987; conservation are obviously interrelated and may in
Oldfield and Alcorn 1987; Brush 1991). Each season certain cases be seen as one, but in other instances
the farmers keep a proportion of harvested seed for this may not be possible. For example, the introduc-
resowing in the following year. The farmer selects tion of a certain percentage of high-yielding varieties
from his or her current crop a sample to act as seed (HYV’s) to a traditional farming system may sustain
for the following, in other words the farmer makes a the farming system at that location, but could lead to
conscious decision about which sample to retain for gene replacement or displacement and therefore ge-
seed. netic erosion of the original land race material. The
The factors that influence the choice of seed distinction between these two related activities has yet
sample will be various, but are likely to include: to be clarified but here where the focus is the conserva-
yield, quality, disease and pest resistance. The farmer tion of genetic diversity within a particular farming, it
may even have some form of crop ideotype (Machado will be referred to as on-farm conservation, and where
2000). The farmers’ selections of seed for planting in the focus is the conservation of the traditional farming
the following year are likely to be directed toward and system itself as on-farm management.
favour characteristics that enhance the crop’s produc- Finally, before discussing the actual methodology,
tion in the local environment where the farmer lives or it is important to stress the need for sustainability in
even for different field within the farm or production any on-farm project. There is no less a requirement
for different markets (Jarvis et al. 2000). For example, for sustainability in on-farm conservation than for any
a wheat farmer in Turkey may have different land races other genetic conservation technique. To be assessed
for hillsides or valley bottom, for home consumption effective in terms of genetic conservation, the on-farm
or for market sale (Brush and Meng 1998). Thus the project once established must be sustainable into the
land race will have been selected by the farmer and/or foreseeable future. There is little point in viewing
nature to be highly adapted to the local environment, an on-farm project in terms of the standard 3–5 year
is likely to contain geographically specific, ecotypic- grant framework, unless the focus of the project was
ally adapted alleles or gene complexes, which may be research into the establishment processes rather than
unique within the gene pool as a whole and this is why actual genetic conservation. To establish an on-farm
they have such conservation and utilisation potential. project for a short, limited period would be waste-
The farming system is, however, not closed, in the ful of scarce genetic conservation funding. Therefore,
sense that fresh genetic diversity is likely to enter the long-term sustainability must be considered in the
system periodically as a result of partial ‘seed replace- planning, establishment and on-going management of
ment’, as described by Zeven (1999), but this material any on-farm conservation project.

A methodology for in situ conservation on-farm Lando and Mak 1994a, b and c; Pham et al. 1994;
Eyzaguirre and Iwanaga 1996a; Louett and Smale
As discussed above, the CBD attempts to encourage 1996; Bellon et al. 1997; Jarvis and Hodgkin 1998;
conservationists to develop more efficient and effect- Jarvis et al. 2000; Almekinders and de Boef 2000)
ive conservation protocol. Simple methodologies are to show that a number of activities are generally in-
particularly useful for those conservationists working volved. These are described and discussed in relation
in centres of diversity where genetic erosion is often to one another in the rest of this paper. A model for on-
rife, conservation finances are severely limited and farm conservation is proposed in Figure 1. This model
appropriately trained personnel are relatively few. A attempts to summarise the entire process of plant ge-
model for plant genetic resource conservation and spe- netic conservation, from selection of a target crop gene
cifically for conservation in a genetic reserve have pool through to its utilisation. As such, the specific
been proposed by Maxted et al. (1997a, b) respect- on-farm element sits within the general model for ge-
ively. For a number of reasons, developing a similar netic conservation proposed by Maxted et al. (1997a).
generalized methodology for on-farm conservation is Therefore, before any interventions are made to pro-
more problematic. Firstly, because there have been, mote the conservation of land races of a target crop in a
until recently, relatively few attempts to scientifically farming system (should they be needed), several steps
study on-farm conservation (Brush et al. 1981; Old- in the conservation process must have already been
field and Alcorn 1987; Cromwell 1990; Bellon 1991; undertaken. In particular, (1) the decision must have
Jarvis and Hodgkin 1998; Brush 1999; Jarvis et al. been taken that the target taxon is of sufficient import-
2000). Secondly, because the farmers ultimately un- ance to warrant active conservation and that the gene
dertake the conservation, not the scientists (Maxted pool is not currently adequately conserved (Maxted et
et al. 1997b). On-farm conservation is less directly al. 1997c), (2) an ecogeographic survey has been un-
under the control of the conservationist. Farmers are dertaken to define the most appropriate conservation
aware of the importance of land races and the need strategy (Maxted et al. 1995), and (3) specific con-
for broadly-based agricultural biodiversity (Campilan servation objectives formulated, involving both ex situ
1998; Prain and Hagmann 2000), but their principal and in situ components (Maxted et al. 1997a).
goal is economic, agricultural security for them and Once the specifically on-farm element of the ge-
their family is paramount and not the more nebulous netic conservation strategy is complete, conservation
conservation of genetic diversity. Thus the role of products must also be made available for current and
the conservationist is indirect but pro-active, to help future use (Maxted et al. 1997a). As the components
promote and preserve the conditions in which the tra- of the model not specifically associated with on-farm
ditional farmer can maintain genetic diversity in land conservation have been described elsewhere (Maxted
races and related crop weeds, within the traditional et al. 1997a, b, c), that discussion will not be repeated
production systems employed. The conservationist is here. It can be seen from the section of the model
unlikely to intercede directly in the actual act of con- that focuses on on-farm conservation that the proposed
servation, for instance by advising the farmer on which process is divided into three phases: (1) project plan-
land races to sow or which seed to keep for seeding ning and establishment, (2) project management and
the following year. Their role, compared to other ex monitoring, and (3) on-farm utilisation of diversity.
situ and in situ conservation techniques, is more pass- The structure of the on-farm model broadly follows
ive, monitoring farming practices or genetic diversity that proposed for in situ conservation of wild spe-
of the target taxa and interceding only if the farming cies in genetic reserves, though necessarily the way
system is threatened or there are significant deleterious each component is implemented will differ markedly.
changes in genetic diversity. The different components of the on-farm conservation
Having argued that the formulation of a general process are discussed in detail below.
methodology is more difficult for on-farm conserva-
tion, the literature is now sufficiently detailed (Old-
field and Alcorn 1987; Cromwell 1990; Bellon 1991; Phase 1 - Project planning and establishment
Brush, 1991, 1995, 1999; Brush et al. 1981, 1992;
Quiros et al. 1992; Sperling and Loevinsohn 1992; The first step of any on-farm project will focus on
Sperling et al. 1992; Worede 1992, 1993, 1997; the selection of sites, communities and farmers where
Worede and Hailu 1993; Kashyap and Duhan 1994; the conservation activities could most effectively be

Figure 1. Proposed model of on-farm plant genetic conservation.

implemented. The objective of an on-farm project is information on the amount and structure of genetic
to ensure that the maximum possible range of genetic variation, breeding system, ecogeographic distribution
diversity of the target crop continues to be managed by of the target taxon which will not usually be available
farmers within their farming systems in a given region. for any but the most studied of crops.
This is a complex goal to achieve because it requires

The process is further complicated because it is minimum population size has been reached, it would
not totally under the control of the conservationist. be more appropriate to focus on including a coherent
Nor should it be, as it is the farmer that is actively unit, a distinct farm, village, community structure or
undertaking the conservation, and the farmer makes seed exchange cooperative rather trying to incorporate
his or her decisions in a complex socio-economic and a specific population size, which will often be easily
cultural environment. Although in-depth social sci- met anyway in the crop monoculture context.
ence research can begin to understand farmer needs In contrast to ex situ conservation, in situ conser-
and how it impacts their management of genetic di- vation additionally aims to preserve the evolutionary
versity, it is important to recognise that these may vary process which has led to the development of the ge-
considerably among farmers and communities. A hu- netic diversity found at a particular site, and which
man dimension is thus added to on-farm conservation will presumably lead to the further modification of this
which is not generally a common component of ex diversity in the future. Regions for on-farm conserva-
situ conservation. As we shall see, this requires that tion will therefore be chosen not just for the genetic
the conservationist acquire or access novel skills and diversity currently found there and the threat it faces
expertise in such fields as ethnobotany, anthropology (as germplasm collecting sites might be) but also be-
and participatory methodologies. cause the evolutionary process is, for whatever reason,
particularly significant. Thus, areas which might be es-
Identification of project sites pecially appropriate for on-farm conservation projects
will include those with high pest and disease diversity
The ecogeographic survey or study, which is the and pressure, those where the wild and weedy re-
necessary preliminary of any conservation activity, latives of the target crop are diverse and abundant,
should conclude with a clear, concise statement of and those where local communities have a tradition of
the proposed conservation objectives and priorities. It active experimentation with, and manipulation of, ge-
should also identify regions where both collecting for netic diversity. Regions should be purposely selected
ex situ conservation and on-farm conservation activ- to complement each other in terms of genetic diversity
ities could usefully be initiated. This will be due to and local human and ecogeographic conditions. Dif-
a combination of high levels of genetic diversity at ferent cultural groups (ethnic, language) should also
the site(s), interest the user community in the specific be targeted, as they may have different approaches and
genetic diversity found at or believed to be found at attitudes to the management of genetic diversity of the
the site, lack of previous conservation activities, and crop.
imminent threat of genetic erosion. The Atlas of Common Bean Production in Africa
The overall criterion in site selection will be to (Wortmann et al. 1998) illustrates the kind of data
maximise the conserved genetic diversity of the target that could be used in developing priorities for on-farm
crop or crops, ensure suitable environmental condi- conservation. Among others, it contains maps of:
tions and population levels for continued evolution and • production levels
that the dynamic of the farming system is maintained. • production environments
This will involve determining the minimum effective • cropping systems
population size and hence the minimum viable pop- • genetic diversity
ulation size necessary for sustainable conservation at • importance of pests and diseases
that location. Too small a population size may not be • importance of abiotic stresses
able to sustain its inherent genetic diversity. The min- The data was derived from agricultural censuses,
imum effective population size will vary from species specialized surveys and crop experts. For example,
to species depending on the biology of the species, but for Malawi, the sources used were the National Rural
a minimum population size of N = 5000 has been tent- Development Programme of the Ministry of Agricul-
ative suggested by Lawrence and Marshall (1997) for ture for 1988/89, Agrostat files from the Food and
wild species conservation in a genetic reserve. In the Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO
context of on-farm conservation the size of the crop 1990–1993) and expert opinion. The maps are digit-
population required to maintain genetic diversity at ized and could be manipulated using Geographical
a location will be complicated by the biology of the Information Systems (GIS) software to identify a set
crop, the dynamics of the farming system employed of regions which are be complementary to each other
and external economic factors. Therefore once the in terms of production environments, have high and

complementary levels of genetic diversity and are sub- bank the curator may either obtain a sample of the
ject to high levels of various biotic and abiotic stresses. duplicate collection placed in another gene bank or
These would clearly make good candidates for re- possibly return to the original collection site and re-
gions within which to seek specific sites for on-farm collect from the original or a similar population. Both
conservation activities. of which options may be associated with relatively
An essentially desk-based ecogeographic survey as minor costs. If the material is lost from an on-farm
described above will highlight regions of high genetic project the large quantity of resources expended on
diversity, but is unlikely to single out specific loca- establishing the project would have been wasted and
tions for on-farm projects. To establish more precisely the cost of rehabilitating populations using materials
where project activities could be located, selected stored ex situ would have to be considered. Therefore,
regions will need to be visited and potential sites as- it is vital that the dynamics of the target crop within
sessed directly for genetic diversity within the target the cultivation system are understood and from this
taxon or taxa, farming practices and local knowledge, understanding of the relationship between the farmer,
threat of genetic erosion, presence of interesting bi- the cultivation system and the land race sustainable
otic and/or abiotic conditions, presence of wild/weedy conservation will result.
relatives, etc. This is likely to involve some form of It would appear most straightforward to establish
rapid ethnobotanical investigation and survey of land on-farm projects in regions that are less likely to be
race morphological diversity. In the same way as ex affected by any form of human development project
situ collections are duplicated, ideally more than one (Ingram and Williams 1984). On-farm projects sited
site should be established for a given crop within each near development projects, such as dams, industrial or
agroecological zone or cultural area, otherwise there urban development projects are likely to be affected by
would be no possibility of any seed replacement. those projects and the associated influences of external
At a pragmatic level, the relative costs of estab- agencies. However, on-farm conservation need not be
lishing and monitoring the project will also affect in opposition to all development, on-farm conserva-
selection of alternative sites. If faced with a choice of tion could be incorporated into sensitive agricultural
equally suitable sites and different costs, there would development programmes that aim to improve the pro-
be little justification for selecting a site other than the duction of traditional farming systems (Atlin et al.
least expensive. The costs of establishment and mon- 2000). The on-farm manager must therefore be aware
itoring will depend on such factors as the accessibility of local development projects and be in a position to
of the site to the conservationist and potential external assess their impact on the putative on-farm project.
users of the genetic diversity, the availability and local It may be difficult or even impossible to assess the
costs of services, supplies and other items necessary short term requirements for land use in a region, but
for the smooth running of the project. checks for development plans for potential sites should
be routinely undertaken. It is, however, impossible to
Project sustainability assess the long term human requirements and there-
fore development plans within a region. Legislation
Sustainability is fundamental to any form of conser- could be used to ensure that once on-farm projects
vation (Maxted et al. 1997a; Hawkes et al. 2000). are established, the site is secure from environment-
In situ conservation techniques are not an inexpens- ally unfriendly development. However, experience has
ive option compared to ex situ (Maxted et al. 1997a). shown that legislation can often be circumvented if
The on-farm project, once established, may require the political will is sufficiently strong and legislation
some form of conservation intervention. Apart from to protect individual sites is uncommon. A pragmatic
the necessity to monitor the target population levels approach would involve the establishment of multiple
and sample the material for ex situ duplication, there sites for any on-farm project, then the destruction of
may be a need, for example, for some form of incent- any one site will obviously have less overall impact.
ives to encourage the farmer to continue cultivation of The point should be made that if the genetic diversity
the land races. This may necessitate the commitment contained in any traditional farming system is ex-
of substantial levels of resources over the long term to tremely rare or unique, then ex situ techniques must
ensure sustainable genetic conservation in the reserve. be used in a complementary fashion. In fact ex situ ap-
In situ conservation is unlike ex situ conservation, proaches are absolutely essential if the population size
where, if the original collection is lost from one gene of the crop has become so low that survival in situ can-

not be guaranteed or when the traditional cultivation project could be awareness-building of the import-
systems are so seriously threatened that survival of the ance of land races among younger farmers, e.g. if
crop in that location is doubtful. Even if this were not the lack of transmission of knowledge is identified
the case it would always be advisable to provide ex situ as a constraint to continued land race use.
backup for as many target taxa as possible. 3. Gender. Management and knowledge of land races
Finally, but perhaps most importantly if the project of a particular crop may be in the hands of men
is to be sustainable, the local people among whom it only, women only, or both. This gender disaggreg-
will be working must be fully supportive of it. This ation may well differ among crops, and even for
means that they must be involved from the very begin- different land races within a given crop. In ad-
ning. If farmers are relegated to a kind of support role dition, control of access to the diversity may not
where they are working ‘for’ the scientists, and not re- necessarily rest with the same group as knowledge
cognized as the joint designers of, and full partners in, of that diversity.
the project, then the project is unlikely to be a success, 4. Wealth. There are two possibilities here. It could
or indeed to get off the ground in the first place. Con- be that wealthier farmers grow more land races,
sultations should also be held at an early stage during because they can afford to do so almost as a hobby,
the planning phase of the project with the relevant re- for sentimental or non-economically derived reas-
gional and national authorities, thus ensuring that any ons. On the other hand, it could be that the poorest
necessary permits, clearances and agreements are in farmers will be the ones growing most land races,
place in good time. because they cannot afford inputs and are prob-
ably on the most marginal land anyway, where
Identification of project partners land races tend to have an advantage. In any case,
wealth will be a factor to consider in identifying
Having identified that a specific village or district project partners within the community. Even if dif-
would make an effective site for an on-farm conserva- ferent wealth groups grow equal numbers of land
tion activity or project, it will be necessary to identify races, they may grow different ones, as part of
particular key people and institutions with whom col- necessarily quite different subsistence strategies.
laboration will be possible on a long-term basis. The 5. Social status. This is connected with wealth, but
main project partners in the community will obviously will need to be considered separately as well. It
be farmers, but may also include, among others, the could be that the local authority figure in the area
local agricultural extension office, non-governmental will be the key project partner in some situations,
organisations (NGO) and community leaders of dif- in particular if he (or she) traditionally exercises
ferent kinds, depending on local conditions. control over different aspects of agriculture, such
It may be possible for the project to interact with as the testing of new varieties, crop husbandry
all the farmers in a small community, but in most cases variables such as the timing of harvest, etc. On the
there will be a need to select which farmers to include other hand, it would be a mistake to discount the
as collaborators in the project. Rural communities are disadvantaged, in particular as, confined to mar-
not homogeneous, and the selection of partner farmers ginal lands, they may be the ones with the greatest
will depend on a number of factors, the relative im- need for land races.
portance of which will vary from place to place. Some 6. Ethnicity. Different ethnic groups living side by
of these factors will include: side may grow different complements of land
1. Genetic diversity. Farmers currently maintaining races and employ different traditional management
high levels of land race diversity, and with good approaches.
knowledge of this diversity, are clearly more likely The process of selecting collaborators need not be
to make appropriate partners. divisive and disruptive within the community. For ex-
2. Age. The importance of the knowledge people ample, arrangements could be made for any benefits
have of diversity and its management suggests that arising from the project to be shared more widely in
older people could be specifically targeted by on- the community than just among participating farm-
farm conservation activities. However, there is the ers. Farmers in the study area may be organized
question of sustainability, and it would certainly into, or be collaborating with, some form of group-
be advantageous if younger farmers were involved ing, for example farmer cooperatives, development
in the project as well. In fact, an element of the committees, women’s clubs, church groups, chapters

of the national farmers’ association or a local Non- users. However, users outside the community where
Governmental Organisation (NGO). It may well be the project is being implemented should also be con-
useful for partner selection (and benefit sharing) to sidered when designing the management plan for the
be focused in a participatory manner through such project. Plant breeders will be important long-term
groups, which can act as so-called ‘gatekeepers’to the beneficiaries of the genetic diversity managed by the
community. Local extension agents, school teachers project partners, but there may also be scope for other
and religious leaders could also play a similar role. types of scientific utilisation and even eco-tourism.
The local civil authorities will need to be involved in The requirements and possible contribution of each
the project from an early stage. These will include not group of potential users should be surveyed before the
only the relevant local government structures, but also project is established and considered when developing
traditional institutions such as elders’ councils and the the management plan (see below).
like, depending on the situation.
A specific example from Malawi may be instruct- Formulation of project activities
ive (Chiwona 2000). Extension planning areas in
Malawi comprise numerous local farmers’ clubs and The early stages of the model deal with the process of
are the foci of active agricultural development inter- selecting on-farm conservation sites and partners. The
ventions. These could be used as the administrative next stage is to design interventions to be implemen-
structures for on-farm projects. The advantages of ted by the project partners that will ensure sustainable
such an approach would be that they are: conservation of the target crop within the agricultural
1. already mapped and well studied, system at that site. This will require research at the
2. already have an extension worker/farmer interac- farmer, community and macro levels.
tion structure in place, which could be used to The initial focus of this research will probably be
coordinate on-farm conservation activities, to support the formulation of an on-farm management
3. relatively small units and so fairly manageable, plan by investigating in more detail why land races are
4. already used for the collection of germplasm for being grown at the project site in the first place, and
ex situ conservation, and farmers are therefore whether these reasons are likely to persist. To what
already aware of formal-sector conservation activ- extent farmers adopt modern varieties to replace their
ities. multiplicity of land races ultimately depends on the
All this presupposes a preliminary socio-economic extent to which the varieties offered by scientific plant
survey of the potential partner community or com- breeding and the formal seed industry better satisfy
munities, to complement the sort of preliminary ge- their household livelihood strategy. This in turn will be
netic diversity surveys mentioned in the previous sec- shaped not just by what may be termed ‘culture’ (be-
tion. Rapid and Participatory Rural Appraisal meth- lief, art, moral law, custom and religion), but also by
odologies will be important tools in carrying out this such socio-economic factors as: access to land, labour
work (e.g., Guarino and Friis-Hansen 1995). In some and capital; governmental macro-economic initiatives;
societies, it may be difficult for an outsider to meet and the influence of extension workers. For millions of
the “best” potential collaborators. The problem can be resource-poor farmers in marginal areas still land races
approached by careful selection of the survey team, for serve them best, though there may be considerable
example as regards to gender balance. Where women turnover of material within a community.
are known to play key roles with respect to the target Relevant research questions at the farmer level can
species, a team member experienced in working with be divided generally into those concerned with un-
women farmers is essential. The help could be sought derstanding the processes of farmer decision-making,
of female members of home economics or community and understanding how farmers’ perceptions and de-
development departments. Various tools are available cisions affect genetic diversity. These topics have been
to attempt to overcome the barriers which male re- receiving enough attention for a generalized research
searchers in particular might face in reaching women agenda to be developed. Past anthropological research
and engaging their active collaboration (Feldstein and concerned with how farmers recognise and classify
Jiggins 1993). infra-specific diversity (e.g., Boster 1984) provides the
The ultimate rationale for genetic conservation is first step in correlating farmer conceptions of genetic
utilisation. In the case of on-farm conservation, the diversity with those of science. In addition, there is
conservationists (i.e. the farmers) are also the main ongoing research attempting to link the largely qual-

itative data which social research produces with the within countries and even across the range of a target
quantitative results of molecular marker and other taxon.
genetic diversity studies in an attempt to begin to The conservationist will want to identify any pos-
describe how genetic diversity within a species is sible factors that may lead to the abandonment of
affected over time by farmer selection. In contrast, land races, i.e. constraints to the continued use of
the nature of farmer decision-making with regards to land races. Forces which have the potential to cause
crop diversity has been less studied. However, Bel- crop genetic erosion are numerous, and they include
lon (1996) investigated the rationale farmers use in the introduction of incentives for modern cultivars or
deciding to retain or discard crop varieties and from exotic crops, the promotion of changes in agricultural
this generated a valuable hypothesis based on the role practices by the extension service, migration of young
infra-specific diversity plays in the household’s well- people to urban centres, the improvement of infra-
being. If verified during preliminary on-farm research, structure such as roads, the proximity of development
this model could provide the designers of a con- projects, civil strife and the associated arrival of food
servation programme with a basis for understanding aid. On the other hand, some forces may tend to work
farmers’ views of agricultural change. to protect the use of land races in an area, for example:
While having less direct implications for con- fragmentation of farm holdings, allowing farmers to
serving genetic diversity, understanding community maintain land races in at least one field; increasing
interaction is important in developing an understand- cultivation of marginal land, where land races tend to
ing of the changing contexts which effect farmers’ have an advantage over modern varieties and intens-
decisions. The role of local agricultural income, and ive agriculture; economic isolation, creating market
more specifically of the target taxa, in household and distortions which give land races a competitive advant-
community economics as a whole is an important age; and cultural values and preferences for diversity
starting point for evaluating the place of agricultural (Brush 1995).
diversity in local markets as well as in considering If the reasons that farmers continue cultivation of
potential incentive packages. For example, in show- land races of the target crop are considered suffi-
ing that the extensive exchange of genetic diversity ciently robust, there may be no need for intervention
between communities can often make a geographic- by conservationists beyond baseline description and
ally ‘closed’ model unrealistic, Louette and Smale monitoring. If this is not the case, however, then the
(1996) demonstrate that to be successful, some on- maintenance of land race genetic diversity may in-
farm conservation may have to cover a wider range volve some form of management intervention aimed
of populations and localities than was originally anti- at counteracting the specific, actual or potential agents
cipated. By revealing complexities which would have of genetic erosion identified at the site. A far from ex-
been invisible within a single community or even at the haustive list of such (not mutually exclusive) activities
farmer level, this work illustrates the value of broader could include:
levels of analysis. • raising awareness among various stakeholders
The relationship between these levels of analysis (e.g. decision makers, the extension service, devel-
enables us to understand the ways in which national opment agencies operating locally, and the young
and international activities and policies affect the of the community) of the benefits of growing loc-
grassroots. It is a form of research which has until ally adapted land races (McNeely 1988; Qualset et
now received little attention within the plant genetic al. 1997),
resource community despite the importance of policy • facilitating interested farmers’ access to planting
issues (Jarvis et al. 2000). Of the three potential levels material of land races (e.g through community
of analysis, macro-economic is certainly the most re- gene banks, farmer exchange networks, train-
moved from genetic diversity as it exists in farmers’ ing in better storage techniques, seed fairs, re-
fields. But examples from agricultural development introduction of material from national and inter-
literature clearly reveal the usefulness of this type of national gene banks),
research in understanding how changing economic, • improving those characters and qualities of land
agricultural and political policies impact local agro- races seen by farmers and consumers as inadequate
ecosystems (DeWalt and DeWalt 1992). There is con- (e.g. by participatory breeding, see Ceccarelli et al.
siderable potential in on-farm conservation projects 1996; Eyzaguirre and Iwanaga 1996; Sthapit et al.
for understanding the effects of policy on diversity 1996; Witcombe et al. 1996),

• increasing access to markets, or creating new public awareness purposes. The actual content or style
preferential markets for land races (e.g. by train- of an on-farm management plan will vary depending
ing farmers in processing, marketing, and quality on the location, target-crop(s), local community, or-
control), ganisation, staff, that are involved, but items likely to
• promoting agro-ecotourism, be included will be:
• halting or ameliorating the unhelpful effects on 1. a statement of the rationale for the on-farm project
land race diversity of subsidies (perverse incent- in the context of an overall conservation strategy
ives – McNeely 1988) for competing HYV’s, for the target gene pool,
• access to local land races that have been lost from 2. the results of the ecogeographic survey and explor-
the region and establishment of farmer’s networks atory ethnobotanical/diversity survey, including a
to promote seed exchange, list of specific potential sites for implementation
• introducing indirect (e.g. enhance local services, of the project,
build better roads) or direct (e.g. monetary re- 3. specific target crop (e.g. taxonomy, phenology,
wards) subsidies for the cultivation of local land habitat preference, breeding system, minimum
races. population size),
Zeven (1996) has argued that farmers will only 4. morphometric and genetic description of the land
continue to grow landraces when they are payed to races present at the site (e.g. mapping of land
do so, which is one reason for his rejection of on- race distribution and density within the site, de-
farm conservation as a technique to conserve genetic tails of farmers management practice, relationship
diversity for perpetuity. If we accept that the con- with other crops in the cultivation system, genetic
servation of land races in on-farm projects must be diversity),
long-term to be viable in terms of genetic conserva- 5. the results of the preliminary socio-economic sur-
tion, then it does appear logical that the continued vey of the potential sites, including a list of pos-
payment of financial incentives to farmers over exten- sible project partners both in the proposed project
ded periods is untenable. Many countries have suffi- sites and beyond,
cient problems finding sustainable long-term funding 6. a preliminary assessment of the reasons why man-
for their national gene bank, let alone paying farmers agement of land races is currently taking place at
in multiple on-farm conservation projects. Therefore, the proposed project site(s) and discussion of the
the direct payment of farmers to grow land races can any potential threats to the status quo,
only be a short-term resort, while other incentives are 7. conservation management prescription, a set of
investigated and implemented by the project partners. proposed interventions aimed at overcoming the
In this sense the conservationist’s role is clearly potential causes of genetic erosion identified above
not exclusively passive, he or she may intervene to that can be implemented if required,
promote the well-being of the community involved in 8. training and research agendas,
the on-farm project, as well as maintaining the desired 9. a strategy for monitoring (relative to a known
genetic diversity and farming system. Although where baseline) both the potential cause of genetic
this involves the genetic diversity within the farming erosion and the effects of the proposed interven-
system, such as in the participatory plant breeding of tions on genetic diversity,
local landraces (Eyzaguirre and Iwanaga 1996b; Wit- 10. a strategy for use of conserved genetic diversity by
combe et al. 1996), care must be taken to ensure the different groups,
security of the locally adapted genetic diversity and 11. budget, manpower, local, national and interna-
the fundamental nature of the farming system. tional conservation agency involvement, and local
A list of possible options for interventions, if and national political involvement.
required, at the particular project site should be de-
veloped and discussed together with all project part- Phase 2 B On-farm project management and
ners, focusing on their relative appropriateness, likely monitoring
effectiveness and practical feasability.
It is recommended that the time is taken to for- Implementation of project activities
mulate an on-farm management plan as it will assist
with the efficient project implementation and man- Probably the first step in implementation will be to
agement, but could also be used for fund-raising and set up a small project management team. This will

probably be multi-disciplinary, reflecting the import- tial level of management will be relatively high, with
ance of different biological as well as social science intensive and extensive monitoring procedures and the
disciplines. One of its earliest tasks will be to organize plan will need to flexibly applied.
a thorough baseline study of the crop at the project
site. This should document in much more detail than Monitoring
was possible in the preliminary surveys the levels and
patterns of genetic diversity in the target crop(s) at The judgement as to whether an intervention should be
the project sites. It should also document the prac- continued or changed will be made on the basis of the
tices currently employed by project farmers (both men results of regular monitoring of the levels and structure
and women) in managing genetic diversity through the of genetic diversity of the target crops at the project
agricultural cycle, aspects of the socio-economic and sites. This monitoring will be done relative to the
policy setting, and features of the physical and biotic baseline survey and, as already mentioned, perhaps us-
environment. A participatory approach will be vital ing some of the target sites as controls. On-farm con-
not only in carrying out the baseline study, but also servation is a dynamic process and qualitative changes
in deciding on its structure and contents in the first of genetic diversity are to be expected. What the con-
place. The different proposed interventions could then servationist will particularly be on the lookout for are
be initiated, perhaps (depending on their nature) only significant quantitative declines in genetic diversity.
at a subset of target sites, in order to provide “controls” The details of the monitoring process will vary de-
against which to gauge their effectiveness. pending on target crop, local situations and resource
Training could also be an important early project availability. It is however likely to involve regular,
activity. Enough professionals with appropriate quali- standardized sampling of the crop in order to compare
fications and experience may not be available to work specific characteristics, as well as consultations with
on project activities and at least short courses or work- the farmers involved in the project. The samples taken
shops may need to be organized in key topics at an could range from seeds to be sown for morphological
early stage (Jarvis and Hodgkin 1998). Both biolo- characterization of the resulting plants to leaf mater-
gical and social science expertise will be necessary, ial for DNA extraction and molecular marker analysis.
and specialists in one of these fields rarely have much This is not the place to go into details – Maxted et al.
experience in the other. Thus, for example, training of (1997d) discuss the process in a fuller manner for wild
the biological scientists involved in the project in par- species in genetic reserves – but the following interre-
ticipatory methodologies and of the social scientists lated questions need to be considered in developing a
in germplasm characterization may well prove useful. monitoring regime for crop genetic diversity:
People in the local community could be recruited by 1. Where will samples be taken? In particular, in
the project to carry out different support activities, for which fields, in which villages, in which agroe-
example record-keeping during monitoring, and may cological zones? And how many samples will be
need training early on. taken in each of these strata? This will determine
All project activities should be implemented in true the magnitude of differences and changes that the
partnerships with the participating local communit- monitoring regime will be able to pick up.
ies, who should have the final say in all decisions 2. How will samples be taken? When sampling ma-
and be closely involved in the planning and man- terial from a field, systematic, random and strati-
agement of the project, resulting in a strong sense fied random strategies could be followed.
of project ownership. It is likely to be necessary to 3. When during the crop cycle will samples be taken?
develop a formal written agreement between the parti- For example, seeds could be sampled at sowing, at
cipating communities and other partners to govern the harvest, after selection or a combination of these.
implementation, management and review of project 4. How frequently will samples be taken? Every year,
activities. every other year?
The initial implementation of the management plan 5. What characters will be assessed? These could
will be experimental at first and will, at least ini- be conventional characterization and evaluation
tially, require regular review. Thus, the initiation of of genotypic characters (morphology, phenology,
the management plan will require careful introduction quality, etc.), farmer-recognized characters and/or
combined with evaluation, revision and refinement in protein or DNA markers. Among morphological
the light of its practical application. Therefore, the ini- characters, they could include features which are

actively selected for by farmers and others which diversity maintained by the on-farm project? There
are not. will also be a need to monitor broader aspects of the
6. How will the data be analysed? What it is pos- socio-economic and policy setting that though remote
sible to do by way of statistical analysis of the from the project site could impact on the project. The
data will depend on all of the above. A null hypo- questions posed above in the context of sampling for
theses should be explicitly set out at the beginning genetic diversity assessment will be equally valid for
of the process, and the monitoring regime which such ethnobotanical, socio-economic and ecological
would enable data to be analysed to address these monitoring.
hypotheses. The hypothesis could be formulated
Review of project activities
in terms of the original genetic composition of the
land races present. The management regime would
Having collected the data for a particular monitoring
attempt to maintain levels of genetic diversity and
occasion, the conservationist will want to compare the
the population monitoring would assess whether
data with previous sampling occasions. Statistical ana-
the management regime were effective.
lysis of the data sets will indicate whether there has
Ideally when monitoring genetic diversity mo- been significant change in genetic diversity, and over
lecular techniques would be applied, but for those the longer term whether a trend is becoming apparent.
on-farm projects that do not have access to mo- However, as stated above, care must be taken to dis-
lecular laboratories there is, for example, the op- tinguish between natural dynamic changes and those
tion of undertaking infra-specific taxonomic identific- which may require corrective management interven-
ation and/or field characterisation using standard agro- tion. If necessary, the management plan may need to
morphological descriptors or even the nomenclatural be revised and action taken to avert genetic erosion of
analysis (farmer-recognized entities) using compar- the target crop.
ison and counts of the named land races grown to
monitor changes in the diversity contained within the
on-farm project. Phase 3 B Diversity utilisation
It should be remembered that on-farm conservation
is a dynamic process and so the conservationist should Traditional, general and professional utilisation
expect to find morphometric or molecular changes
occurring, but the conservationist should be able to The establishment of on-farm conservation activities is
distinguish ‘normal’ evolutionary changes from ge- not an end in itself. There is an explicit link between
netic erosion. The management plan should ideally genetic conservation and utilisation: conservation of
contain a clear picture of the amount of genetic vari- genetic resources must facilitate their use, either im-
ation within the target populations and population size mediately or in the future (Maxted et al. 1997a).
that are acceptable within the project. The monit- Utilisation of genetic material conserved on-farm may
oring process should act as a feedback mechanism for convenience be classified as traditional, general
indicating when these levels have been reached and and professional.
triggering changes in the management regime to en- The direct users of the germplasm conserved on-
sure the secure conservation of the target taxa. So the farm will be the farmers who have traditionally de-
conservationist is looking for any large quantitative veloped, managed, and exchanged land races, and
decrease in genetic diversity rather than changes in continue to do so. Conservation of genetic resources is
genetic diversity per se. It will be important to monitor not the primary focus of farmers’ activities: what they
at similar stages in the target crops life cycle on each are interested in is the livelihood of their households.
occasion to be able to record comparable results. They grow land races because in many situations they
As well as monitoring genetic diversity of the still provide the best means of fulfilling their liveli-
land races themselves there is also a need to mon- hood strategy – whether to complement the products
itor the farmer practices employed. For example, what of modern plant breeding or not. In proposing and im-
seed selection strategy, area sown, cultivation practice, plementing an on-farm project, professional conserva-
disease and pest control regime or strategy for the in- tionists must be sensitive to the needs of the local com-
troduction of alien germplasm has the farmer used in munities and flexible in the application of the man-
the past and what is now being employed. Are any agement plan. The goal should be conservation that
changes likely to have an adverse effect on the genetic contributes to the quality of life of the local people.

The general population, whether locally, nationally agreed for the sharing of benefits arising from outside
or internationally, can provide significant support to use of the material. These are key requirements of the
the project, aiding its long-term political and financial Convention on Biological Diversity.
viability. The value of conservation – for utilitarian A well-established on-farm conservation project
and scientific as well as ethical and aesthetic reasons should act as a focus for ancillary field research. Bio-
– is increasingly accepted by the general public. This logical and social science research activities should
is an important point for professional conservation- be encouraged at the project sites, as they represent
ists to note as it is the general public who ultimately an important form of use for the material which can
finance the bulk of conservation activities. However, feedback to more effective interventions.
there is considerable scope for further increasing pub-
Linkage to ex situ conservation and duplication
lic interest. The on-farm project is a potentially very
useful tool for raising public awareness of the need
Something has already been said in the section on site
for both conservation in general, and conservation
selection about the need for some measure of duplic-
of the genetic resources of the target crop in par-
ation of on-farm conservation activities across sites,
ticular. To this end, it may be possible to arrange
insofar as resources allow. To provide further back-
for school groups, university students, farmers from
up to on-farm conservation of diversity, germplasm
other regions, tourists, etc. to visit project sites as
should also be deposited in appropriate long-term ex
an educational exercise. The sensitive management of
situ collections. Repeated sampling over time would
cultural and eco-tourism could well result in the local
be ideal, but given that these gene banks may have re-
community (and the project itself) reaping significant
source limitations of their own, for example as regards
financial and other benefits without undue disruption.
seed testing materials, storage space and facilities for
If such visits are envisaged, the on-farm management
regeneration, it will probably be necessary to be some-
plan should take into account the needs of visitors, by
what selective in the material that is sampled for ex
way of visitor centres, guided trails, demonstrations,
situ storage. Both ex situ and in situ conservation have
lectures and information packs in different media.
disadvantages as well as strengths (see Maxted, et al.
One of the disadvantages of in situ as opposed to
1997a), and the point is re-emphasised here that the
ex situ conservation that is often mentioned is that
two strategies are not alternatives or in opposition to
it is more difficult for the plant breeder and other
one another, but complementary. The storage of mater-
professional users to gain access to the germplasm
ial from on-farm sites in an ex situ facility will mean
(Hawkes 1991). The onus is on on-farm project man-
that it will be more easily available to other users. It
agers, just as it is on gene bank managers, to promote
also means that it would be possible to re-introduce it
use of conserved material. For example, regular vis-
to the community which originally developed it and
its to the project site could be arranged for breeders
donated it, should it be lost on-farm for whatever
and other potentially interested users. Indeed, breed-
ers are likely to be key partners in the project from
the start, contributing to the choice of conservation
sites by highlighting areas where the adaptations and Conclusion
characteristics they are seeking in their improvement
programmes are present and continuing to evolve. The authors have attempted to provide a generalised
Documentation is as crucial to the use of ger- methodological framework which can be applied by
mplasm conserved in situ as ex situ (see Ford-Lloyd researchers to establish and implement an on-farm
and Maxted 1997), and passport, characterization and conservation project as part of an overall conserva-
evaluation data, as well as indigenous knowledge, will tion strategy for a crop gene pool. However, it is
need to be made available by the on-farm project. The stressed that the methodology outlined is not meant
project should also ensure that particularly interesting to be prescriptive or to imply that any single meth-
germplasm is conserved in ex situ facilities, where it odology would be appropriate for all situations, we
will be more easily available to outside users (see be- simply wish to provide a framework for conservation
low). The community making the germplasm available managers to explore the science of on-farm conserva-
for use by outsiders should be made fully aware of the tion, as well as promoting further debate of the issues
use to which the material will be put, and their “prior involved. The structure of this framework is similar
informed consent” obtained. Provision should also be to that previously presented for in situ conservation of

the genetic diversity of wild plants in so-called ‘ge- Brush S.B., Carney H.J. and Huaman Z., 1981. Dynamics of Andean
netic reserves’, though there are differences in how potato agriculture. Econ. Bot. 35, 70–88.
Brush S.B., Kressell R., Ortega R., Gisneros P., Zimmerer K. and
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In particular, the centrality of the human dimension domestication. Conserv. Biol. 9, 1189–1198.
in on-farm conservation has been highlighted, and Brush S.B. and Meng E. 1998. Farmers’ valuation and conservation
what this means to the mode of operation of the pro- of crop genetic resources. Genet. Resourc. Crop Evol. 45: 139–
ject and the expertise necessary on the part of the Campilan D., 1998. Dynamics of household food security in rural
researchers involved. The key point to reiterate in Philippines. Paper presented at the FAO Technical Consultation
conclusion is that whenever possible an on-farm con- on Rural Household Food Security, Bangkok, Thailand, 15–19th
servation needs to build on and strengthen the existing September 1998.
Ceccarelli S., Guando S. and Booth R.H. 1996. International breed-
genetic diversity management practices of subsistence ing programmes and resource-poor farmers: crop improvement
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Acknowledgements communities: Lessons from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Network Paper 21, Agricultural Administration (Research and
Extension) Network, Overseas Development Institute, London.
The first draft of this paper was discussed during a Crucible II Group, 2000. Policy for genetic resources (people, plants
UK government Darwin Initiative course on In Situ and patents revisited). Seeding solutions. Volume 1. International
Genetic Conservation given in South Africa (Febru- Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome and Dag Hammarskjöld
Foundation, Uppsala.
ary 1997) and we wish to thank all the participants for DeWalt K.M. and DeWalt B.R., 1992. Agrarian reform and the food
their contribution to development of the ideas presen- crisis in Mexico: Microlevel and macrolevel processes. In: Pog-
ted here. We also wish to thank Dr. D. Jarvis for her gie, J.J., B.R. DeWalt & W.W. Dressler (eds), Anthropological
Research: Process and Application, State University of New
helpful comments on the manuscript.
York Press, Albany, NY, USA. pp. 159–184.
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