Combating genetic erosion requires myriad and multilevel efforts. The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is the key international forum to address all genetic resources for food and agriculture. For many years, it has supported efforts that assess and counteract the threats to genetic resources and has identified strategies to improve food security through the sustainable use and conservation of genetic resources.
© Heldur Netocny/ Panos Pictures
The best strategy for conservation combines ex situ and on-the-ground (in situ) conservation. Storing essential genetic resources enables the utilization of specific traits in times of need.
Ex situ conservation is the necessary back-up to our biodiversity hard drive.
© Mari Tefre
In situ conservation, by farmers in production systems or in protected areas is essential to ensure the continued evolution of agriculture biodiversity.
© Pietro Cenini /Panos Pictures
Farmers and breeders alike must continue to have access to genetic diversity to breed new plant and forest varieties, animal breeds or aquatic strains, to address threats, caused by for example, disease and pests. Increased cooperation between farmers and breeders will enable further research and development to ensure genetic improvement meets the needs of farmers and consumers. © FAO/N. Brodeur
A strong network of producers and consumers will allow farmers to utilize the wealth of genetic resources for food and agriculture and encourage consumers to participate in maintaining this biodiversity. Market opportunities for farmers and educational initiatives for consumers can strengthen this network.
© A. Toledo
Partnerships that include all relevant stakeholders will foster capacity building through shared experiences and abilities. Capacity building is necessary for countries to be able to diversify and adapt their agriculture and food production to future needs and challenges. © FAO/K. Pratt
The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture recognizes that an integrated approach is critical to developing mechanisms that will prevent genetic erosion, improve livelihoods and enable food security. © FAO/Giulio Napolitano
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© FAO, 2014