International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - First Cycle

Rescue, conservation and sustainable management of teocintle in Nicaragua (Zea nicaraguensis Iltis & Benz) in the Apacunca Genetic Reserve
Overview
Nicaragua’s Apacunca Genetic Reserve was created in 1996 specifically to conserve the last existing populations of teocintle, a wild relative of maize that is known to be resistant to salinity, pests, diseases and flooding. Yet, in spite of its attributes that have so much to offer in improving maize varieties for the future, teocintle has mainly disappeared from Nicaragua’s fields, and even the few varieties left are in trouble. A decade ago, researchers found seven of these valuable varieties of teocintle in Apacunca, but today, only one variety remains, mainly due to adverse climatic conditions and to the negative impact of some farming practices on soil fertility. The Treaty Benefit-sharing Fund Project is giving the local farmers and their families a new perspective on conserving teocintle within a wider package of development activities, such as incorporation of new crops in order to diversify diets, and offering training in organic pest control to reduce the need for expensive or caustic inputs. These activities will help generate additional income for rural families without putting habitats of teocintle at risk, introduce farmers to the importance of teocintle and its associated species, and raise farmer awareness that teocintle can be exploited as a forage crop for their livestock. The project also supports the development of scientific and ecological tourism in the area.
Crops
Chili, Cucumber, Cushaw/Pipian, Guayaba, Maize, Melon, Papaya, Plaintain/Banana
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean
Implementing institution: Universidad Nacional Agraria (UNA)

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