International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

Strengthening community resilience in two Biosphere Reserves of Cuba through the efficient use of plant genetic resources: corn and beans
Overview
Where will we work?
The communities of the Biosphere Reserves of Cuba are vulnerable due to their geographical exposure, low income, dependence on agriculture for their livelihoods and limited ability to seek subsistence alternatives. The agricultural productivity in the region is affected by frequent hurricanes, erratic rainfall and droughts, rising temperatures and pests and diseases. The traditional genetic diversity of corn, common beans and “caballero” beans has been previously collected and conserved in the Institute for Fundamental Research in Tropical Agriculture (INIFAT), but its potential has not yet been fully exploited.

What will we do?
Collection, characterization and evaluation against biotic and abiotic stresses of germplasm of bean and corn will be carried out. The existing collections of the National Genebank of INIFAT will be enriched and the molecular characterization that will be carried out, will provide added value to the existing information on this germplasm. All the information will be documented in a database at national level. The network of community seed banks will be strengthened for enhanced access and exchange of seeds. Activities to raise awareness of local and national decision makers on the important role that farmers play in the conservation and sustainable management of agrobiodiversity will be carried out. The collaboration of different actors will allow exchanges among institutions of the Ministries of Agriculture, Higher Education and Science and Technology and Environment. Similarly, technical capacities will be strengthened. Scientific publications related to the main results of the project will be prepared, radio and television programs will be attended and informative articles distributed. The role of women in the different activities will be identified, highlighting their actions in making decisions for the production and marketing of seeds.

What is expected to be achieved?
The diversity of corn and beans will be further investigated, as to facilitate research and development of new crop varieties. The collections of the target crops that are stored in the National Genebank of INIFAT will be enriched and complementarities between in situ and ex situ conservation of corn and beans will be enhanced and strengthened. Researchers and professors will increase their knowledge on the use of advanced research techniques. Participatory selection and the training received will improve the quality of seeds and therefore their productions. The exchange of seeds of varieties with promising characteristics will be promoted, as well as the transmission of experiences and technologies between farmers and project researchers. Local decision makers will be sensitized on the recognition of the farming communities and the farmers involved. Emphasis will be placed on the role played by women in all activities. Participatory selection and training received will improve the quality of their seeds and therefore their productions should also improve.

Who will benefit?
The project aims to reach and benefit around 100 farmers, their families, and 6 municipalities of the two Biosphere Reserves of Sierra del Rosario and Cuchillas del Toa, including at least 12 researchers and technicians from INIFAT. In addition, 10 professors from the Agrarian University of Havana and the University of Havana will directly benefit from training and capacity building and increased availability of information and data on targeted PGRFA. Breeders, technicians and PGRFA specialists will also benefit from the implementation of project activities.
Crops
Frijol, Maíz
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Target Countries: Cuba
Implementing institution: Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en Agricultura Tropical “Alejandro de Humboldt” (INIFAT)

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