Local organizations involved in the conservation of crop genetic resources: Conditions for their emergence and success in Ethiopia and Kenya

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Local organizations comprising of farmers, local formal and informal institutions, and public conservators can potentially be relevant options to confront the challenges of conserving indigenous crop varieties in developing countries. Although property rights and market failure problems experienced in crop genetic resources (CGRs) are different from other natural resources such as forests, wildlife, etc., such local organizations, and contractual arrangements within them, can be very instrumental in enhancing on-farm conservation. However, empirical investigations of such local organizations in order to determine the dimensions of their feasibility have been scarce. Against this background, this paper analyzes interactions of stakeholders in these local organizations and then explores the conditions for their emergence and success. The paper discusses field cases of on-farm conservation of traditional cereals and pulses from Ethiopia and indigenous vegetables from Kenya. It points out that local organizations conserving CGRs can be classified into different categories of contractual arrangements depending on certain driving factors that influence interactions of stakeholders and devolvement of decision-making authority. The paper further argues that these driving factors, which include accessibility to markets, presence of collective action or self-organizational capacity and provision of relevant CGRs conservation policies, form some of the key conditions determining the success of the case study organizations. The paper concludes by outlining policy implications on the structuring of such local organizations and the importance of certain factors in facilitating their emergence and success.

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