International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

Identification, evaluation and genetic improvement of some local crop varieties to face with impact of climate change, increase the productivity, food security and on-farm incomes, for poor farmers in remote mountainous areas in Albania
Overview
Where will we work?
The remote and economically marginalized mountainous areas of Albania are characterized by a high diversity of local crop varieties, which are adapted to difficult climatic conditions and have other quality traits such as high nutrient values and resistance to pests and diseases.
These local varieties need to be identified, collected, conserved and multiplied on-farm, as well as improved in breeding programs, in order to be of greater benefit for farmers.
The re-introduction of these genetically improved local varieties will strengthen farmers’ resilience to climate change and extreme weather conditions, create a basis for increased production and thereby provide food security and improved income for farming families.

What will we do?
  • Awareness-raising about the effect of climate change on crop yield;
  • Germplasm collection, inventory and identification of local crop varieties of maize and bean, in 5 districts in Albania;
  • Identification of drought-resistant, disease- and pest-resistant local varieties of maize and bean;
  • Selection and breeding of local varieties of maize and bean;
  • On-farm multiplication of selected and improved local crop varieties of maize and bean, and distribution of locally adapted planting material to farming communities;
  • Promotion of on-farm conservation of local crops;
  • Technology transfer and dissemination of techniques related to on-farm conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food security;
  • Strengthening technical knowledge on sustainable management of crop genetic resources;
  • Capacity building and knowledge transfer on traditional as well as modern breeding techniques.

What is expected to be achieved?
This project will support farmers to maintain and conserve agrobiodiversity in food insecure areas particularly vulnerable to climate change which have hitherto not received any external support. Four locally adapted varieties of maize and bean will be identified, collected, conserved, and improved through participatory breeding involving farmers and local agricultural experts. The project will distribute 1,000 kg of certified local seed to farmers.
Research capacity in Albania will be built, including through the co-development and transfer of two tool packages (germplasm, information, know-how and technologies) amongst researchers, professors, agricultural experts and farmers. Implementation of the project will build new and strengthen existing partnerships between public and private organisations in the country, and contribute to Treaty implementation nationally.

Who will benefit?
The project will directly benefit 500 farmers, of which 60% will be women, by providing access to improved seeds and opportunities to participate in field demonstration and multiplication of maize and bean varieties. 25 agricultural extension specialists will benefit through their participation in evaluation, characterization, breeding and selection of local crop varieties. 55% of them will be women. Three young scientists, two researchers, and five technical staff in agricultural scientific institutions, will be trained in management and improvement of locally adapted varieties. Additionally, the project is expected to benefit 12 postgraduate and doctoral students.
Indirect beneficiaries include five farmer groups and three small and medium seed traders interested in trading high quality local crop germplasm.
Crops
Beans, Maize
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Europe
Target Countries: Albania
Implementing institution: Agricultural University of Tirana

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