Farmers‘ valuation and conservation of crop genetic resources

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the value of landraces (traditional and local crop varieties) to farmers in centers of agricultural diversity. Additional information on the factors contributing to the private value which farmers assign to landraces may help to identify a strategy for ensuring the conservation of the crop genetic resources (CGRs) which are embodied in landraces while at the same time minimizing the costs. Economic and ethnobotanical approaches for examining the value of landraces complement one another. A formal economic approach establishes a framework for quantitative analysis while ethnobotanical methods provide qualitative data for assessing the likelihood that particular farmers or farm sectors will maintain landraces. Our research synthesizes the two approaches in order to examine farmer selection of local wheat landraces in relation to that of modern varieties in three provinces in western Turkey. Multiple farmer concerns (e.g. yield, risk, quality), environmental heterogeneity, and missing markets contribute to the persistence of landraces. Household characteristics informing variety choice will also affect the household's perceptions of the importance and value of landraces.

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