© FAO/ Alessandra Benedetti

Using markets to promote the sustainable utilization of crop genetic resources


This project, which started in 2003, consists of analyzing seed trade and exchange in rural agricultural markets as well as the implications for farmers’ access and use of seeds, crops and varieties. Participating in agricultural markets is one of the most important determinants of the way farmers utilize crop genetic resources: e.g. the crops and varieties they choose for planting. Markets are also an increasingly important source of seeds for farmers through the sales of local varieties seed, as well as through certified seed sales. Markets have been shown to be an important source of seeds for not only commercial farmers, but also poor and subsistence-oriented farmers, particularly in the wake of disasters that wipe out their own supply.

The project is designed to answer three main research questions:

1. How do we measure farmer access to crop genetic resources, especially in relation to crop genetic diversity, in local markets?

2. How does access to CGR in markets affect farmers’ decisions to participate in markets for seeds, and what impact does this have on-farm levels of welfare and on-farm crop biodiversity?

3. How do policies and seed system interventions such as emergency seed relief, seed sector regulation and seed and diversity fairs affect farmer access to CGR in local markets?


Courtesy of Conny Almekinders