International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - First Cycle

On farm conservation and in vitro preservation of citrus local varieties and sustainable utilization in Egypt
Overview
Egypt, the center of origin of many citrus varieties, is one of the world’s largest producers of oranges, and citrus is its number one export crop. Yet, in spite of its importance, there has been a major loss of diversity in the area’s citrus orchards. Citrus production is very business oriented and, as citrus farmers have followed market demand, they have steadily adopted newly introduced commercial varieties that conform to consumer taste and, in doing so, have abandoned their traditional varieties. It is not just geneticists who are concerned about the loss. Farmers also realize that they benefit from locally adapted varieties that do not require expensive input packages of fertilizers and pesticides. The Treaty Benefit-sharing Fund Project set up collecting missions guided by a taxonomist partnering with local farmers who identified and helped collect samples of local varieties of orange, mandarin, lime, lemon, grapefruit and other citrus at farms in four areas of Egypt. The project goes beyond merely saving the genetic diversity. It wants to re-introduce these varieties as viable crops because, in this case, in situ conservation has the potential to improve the livelihood of resource-poor farmers.
Crops
Citron, Citrus, Cleopatra mandarin, Grapefruit, Kumpquat, Lemon, Lime, Macrophylla, Mandarin, Orange, Pomelo, Rangpur lime, Sour orange, Troyer citrange, Volkameriana
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Near East
Implementing institution: National Gene Bank and Genetic Resources, NGBGR

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