International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

BSF Project - First Cycle

Conservation of agrobiodiversity of local cultivars: millet, maize, sorghum through improved participatory for food and agriculture in Senegal
In Senegal, 90 percent of the farming area is dedicated to cereal production. Yet, three of the main crops, millet, maize and sorghum, are facing progressive loss of genetic diversity in the fields and low variability which has dire effects on the abilities of farmers to achieve good results in their harvesting seasons. Thus, the Treaty Benefit-sharing Fund Project in Senegal pulled 340 samples of millet, maize and sorghum from a database to discuss their merits with local farmers. They specifically chose samples that still are found in farmers’ fields, not those that only exist in genebanks. This allowed local farmers to offer practical advice as to which ones would be best to include in on-farm testing that would determine which ones were best adapted to climatic conditions and also which ones met the taste demands of consumers. The farmers chose 55 varieties. The Treaty Benefit-sharing Fund Project offers a combination of research into and promotion of local varieties, in terms of raising the awareness of farmers and policy-makers of the need to conserve local cereal biodiversity. The focus is on increasing productivity by using a participatory, on-farm conservation approach with the ultimate goal of broadening the genetic basis of local crops and increasing the diversity of plant genetic material available to farmers. Wild relatives of these crops have not been fully used in breeding programmes in Senegal to improve local varieties, mainly because of the lack of knowledge of the genetic value of local cultivars and the lack of valuable seed production systems.
Finger Millet, Maize, Sorghum
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Africa
Implementing institution: Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA)

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