International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

Participatory On-Farm Conservation, Sustainable Use and Management of Neglected and Under utilized Crop Species (NUS) for Livelihood and adaptation to Climate Change
Where will we work?
Bhutan represents a unique and fragile highland mountain ecosystem with over 69% of the population dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Bhutanese agriculture is largely for subsistence, using a minimum of external inputs. Dependent on seasonal rains, its productivity is poor, yet the adverse effects of climate change are high, directly affecting farmers’ livelihoods. This Benefit-sharing project will select and promote resilient Neglected and Underutilized Crops Species (NUS) in these marginal agroecological zones to improve adaption to climate change, nutrition and food security and a sustainable production system.

What will we do?
  • NUS germplasm collection, participatory variety selection, purification, seed production, rehabilitation and promotion;
  • Phenotypic characterization, scientific assessment of nutritional status and documentation of local millet varieties and NUS;
  • Improve processing and milling facilities of NUS with appropriate technologies;
  • Capacity building for farmers for improved seed selection and production methods, and promotion of farmers associations;
  • Organize training programmes, field-days, study visits and seed exchange;
  • Farm diversification and product development by adding value to NUS through processing by local youth and women farmers;
  • Transfer NUS and other crop germplasm for conservation in the national genebank.

What is expected to be achieved?
This project will contribute significantly to improving the livelihoods of Bhutanese subsistence farmers as well as to their adaptation to climate change. A minimum of ten locally adapted millet varieties will be collected, evaluated, and multiplied in collaboration with farmers. Their nutritional value will be assessed, and local youth and women will be empowered to market millet products as health foods of sustainable origin, and thereby generate income from a growing market niche. Crop production and post-harvest technologies will be identified and promoted at community level in order to reduce excessive workloads of women farmers in particular.
Twelve national institutions will be supported in their efforts to sustainably manage and conserve NUS germplasm, as well as to contribute to the Treaty’s Global Information System. Project activities will be mainstreamed into relevant national plans and programs.

Who will benefit?
A minimum of 500 farmers (230 men and 270 women) will directly benefit from sustainable management of millet varieties and other project activities, including training.
A further 1,000 farmers and 25 extension workers, national focal points, researchers and technical staff will indirectly benefit from project implementation, especially from the awareness raising campaign.
Finger Millet
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Asia
Target Countries: Bhutan
Implementing institution: National Biodiversity Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests

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