International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

Conservation and sustainable use of local plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to contribute to the food security of smallholder farmers in Argentina
Where will we work?
Due to the replacement of local varieties with different crops and improved seeds, genetic diversity and knowledge associated with the management of such diversity is steeply declining in the Northwest, Northeast and Northern Patagonia regions of Argentina. Local varieties are also increasingly disappearing from the local cuisine. These threats to genetic diversity are compounded by the lack of adequate infrastructure for the production and conservation of seeds in traditional production and a progressive erosion of the practice of seed saving.

What will we do?
  • Diversify local production systems to contribute to the conservation of agrobiodiversity, and to food security and nutrition;
  • Promote conservation and protection of local germplasm;
  • Establish community seed banks;
  • Reintroduce local varieties preserved ex situ in germplasm banks;
  • Participatory evaluation and characterization of local germplasm to identify promising materials in terms of adaptation to water stress, pests and diseases;
  • Organize training and workshops to strengthen producer organizations in conservation, support the exchange of associated knowledge, and the empowerment of women;
  • Connect and articulate inter-institutional work linked to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • Capacity building of different stakeholders for Treaty implementation.

What is expected to be achieved?
This project will improve conservation and sustainable use of local varieties for household subsistence and income generation in Northwest, Northeast and Northern Patagonia.
The strengthening of existing and creation of new Casas de Semillas (community seed banks) as part of a local and regional seed community system will contribute to the integration of traditional and scientific knowledge about local varieties. These spaces will contribute to the recovery and exchange of knowledge based on dialogue within and between communities and will result in the restoration and/or dissemination of traditional practices for seed storage and conservation of promising and community-recognized varieties.
Through the production of brochures and dissemination in different media (radio, television, social networks, publications), the project will raise awareness in the general community about the importance of on-farm conservation.
The organization of courses, workshops and training for different stakeholders (provincial authorities, professionals, indigenous and rural communities and the general public) will focus on the importance of the conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and thereby strengthen Treaty implementation.

Who will benefit?
The project will directly benefit 1,600 family farmers. Over 300 researchers, extension agents, national focal points, government officials, technicians, and rural teachers, of whom 50% will be women, will directly benefit from training in conservation of agrobiodiversity.
Indirectly, the wider population of the project areas will benefit from greater availability of local varieties for use in food and product development.
Beans, Maíz, Potato
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Target Countries: Argentina
Implementing institution: Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA)

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