Conservation and use of crop genetic diversity to control pests and diseases in support of sustainable agriculture

Published on 3 February 2010

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Start Date: 1 September 2007 | End Date: 1 August 2010



Breeding programmes develop new varieties to replace those with lost resistance.However, there is continued evolution of pests and pathogens that overcome the resistant genes introduced by modern breeding. 

Small-scale farmers in developing countries continue to depend on genetic diversity to maintain sustainable production and meet their livelihood needs. Loss of genetic choices, reflected as loss of local crops cultivars, therefore, diminishes farmers’ capacities to cope with changes in pest and disease infection, and leads to yield instability and loss. Local cultivars are a primary source for the new resistant germplasm. The Development objective of the project is to conserve crop genetic diversity in ways that increase food security and improve ecosystem health. The six  target crops, rice (Oryza sativa), maize (Zea mays), barley (Hordeum vulgare), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), faba bean (Vicia faba), banana and plantain (Musa spp.), are major nutritional staples for large segments of the developing world and their yield stabilities are important factors in food security.


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