Farmer’s Pride International Conference: Ensuring Diversity for Food and Agriculture Plant genetic resources
Due to the challenges posed by Covid-19, we will be convening the conference online.
n current times of global transformation—including the rapidly increasing human population and climate change—we need greater diversity to sustain our food supplies than ever before as the environmental conditions in which crops are cultivated become increasingly modified, changeable and uncertain.
In the face of these challenges, our food, nutrition and economic security depend on the conservation and continual availability of a wide range of plant genetic resources for use by plant breeders and farmers to diversify and improve our crops.
Wild relatives of crops and locally adapted cultivated varieties (‘landraces’ or ‘farmers’ varieties’) are rich sources of genetic diversity which provide vital ecosystem services to society by helping to build resilience in agriculture. Their conservation in situ—that is, in their natural habitats in the case of wild species or in the locations where they are cultivated in the case of landraces/farmers’ varieties—with backup in ex situ facilities to provide access to material by plant breeders and farmers—is essential to maintain this diversity which is continually adapting to local environmental conditions.
However, in situ conservation, with complementary ex situ conservation, is currently unplanned and uncoordinated, and to streamline and strengthen our efforts, we need effective and permanent support mechanisms in place.
The Farmer’s Pride project has brought together key actors to lay the foundations for lasting in situ conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources in Europe, by establishing a new regional network of sites, populations, and conservation and use stakeholders. The network builds on existing regional, national and local networks, and relevant initiatives and policy. This conference is an arena to share knowledge and perspectives, promote the embedding of in situ conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources in key legislative and governance frameworks, and scale out progress in Europe and other regions towards a global initiative to safeguard diversity for food and agriculture for the future.
The conference will incorporate oral and poster presentation sessions covering aspects of global in situ (including on-farm) conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources, a stakeholder workshop, a round table discussion with key policymakers, and the launch of the new European Network for In Situ Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources.
Key topics addressed will include:
- Realizing the public and private benefits of plant genetic resources conservation and sustainable use in situ (in the wild and on-farm)
- The roles of the private sector in supporting plant genetic resources conservation
- Promotion and facilitation of the use of plant genetic resources conserved in situ
- Understanding and valuing the roles of, and enhancing cooperation between different actors in dynamic local and national seed systems
- Building alliances between in situ and ex situ resource managers and improving synergies between the management of the populations in their care
- Experiences in identifying optimum populations for in situ conservation
- Best practices for population management of plant genetic resources—in the wild and on-farm
The conference calls for the participation of actors in all aspects of conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources, and will be relevant to conservation practitioners (such as protected area and gene bank managers), innovative farmers, plant breeders and seed producers, policymakers, and researchers and trainers, including those from:
- Civil society organizations
- Farmers’ and seed associations
- Governmental bodies and think tanks
- International organizations or specific initiatives relevant to crop plant genetic resources conservation and use
- Private and public plant breeding companies/institutes
- Public research institutes and gene banks
- Seed networks and community seed banks
- The commercial seed and plant production industries
- The public and private nature/environmental conservation sectors