Tratado Internacional sobre los Recursos Fitogenéticos para la Alimentación y la Agricultura

BSF Project - Fourth Cycle

Strengthening national capacities and regional integration for efficient conservation of plant genetic resources in a post-conflict region
Where are we working?

Iraq, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic are experiencing significant unrest, affecting the livelihoods of rural communities, agricultural activities and local agrobiodiversity. Agriculture remains a pivotal component of economic development in this region, making a major contribution to food security and to sustaining the livelihoods of local communities. The prevailing traditional farming systems are subject to threats caused by the introduction of new varieties, as well as by unbalanced crop rotation, monocropping and land-use changes, amplified by the effects of climate change and the displacement of farmers.

What are we doing?

The project aims to support farmers to maintain sustainable agricultural activity, conserving and sustainably utilizing agrobiodiversity through the following activities:
  • Producing and supplying seeds of adapted and preferred landraces and improved varieties and cultivars.
  • Piloting informal seed production in selected sites in Lebanon.
  • Training in ‘informal seed sector’ development and management.
  • Assessing genetic resources, ex-situ conservation activities, and facilities at national level and providing recommendations for improvement.
  • Conducting eco-geographic and botanical surveys in selected areas to assess the state of and threats to local agrobiodiversity in situ.
  • Organizing collection missions based on gap analysis and depositing copies at the national gene banks.
  • Training in best practices of management of ex-situ collections.

What has been achieved to date?

Between 50 and 100 farmers directly supported in Iraq, Lebanon and the Syrian Arab Republic.
  • Packages of 5–10 locally adapted varieties (landraces and improved varieties) of wheat, barley, chickpea, lentil and faba bean introduced, disseminated to farmers and evaluated in farmers’ fields in a participatory manner. Varieties with traits such as salinity tolerance, heat tolerance,drought tolerance, etc. provided to farmers, based on the challenges faced by national authorities and as a result of the discussions and participatory planning.
  • Technical support to improve sustainable seed supply and the reintroduction of locally lost and threatened pre-existing landraces and the introduction of new locally adapted improved varieties.
  • Between 50 and 100 accessions of target plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) collected, characterized for traits of importance to adaptation and resilience, documented, and made available.
  • Three national institutions supported to strengthen PGRFA information systems, including the Global Information System.
  • Ten researchers, government workers and technicians per country trained through targeted capacity-building (50 percent of them women).
  • Three plans and policies related to PGRFA in the three participating countries strengthened or developed.
  • Ten young scientists from each country, particularly women, supported to ensure that a new generation of scientists have the knowledge and skills to take forward International Treaty implementation.

Who has benefited?

Direct beneficiaries include first and foremost farmers, who will benefit from seeds of landraces and improved varieties and local cultivars, and from training in low-cost technologies.
Other direct beneficiaries include: a) young researchers and extension agents, who will benefit from training opportunities in conservation and use of genetic resources; b) training for women’s groups in add-value technologies; and c) policy-makers and ITPGRFA focal points through capacity-building on policies and legislation related to access and benefit sharing. Breeders, researchers and the whole international community will indirectly benefit from the availability of novel diversity of genetic resources through the Multilateral System.
Barley, Chickpea, Faba Bean / Vetch, Lentil, Wheat
Region: Near East
Target Countries: Iraq, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic
Implementing institution: International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
Partners involved: LARI (Lebanon) GCSAR (the Syrian Arab Republic) OAR, OSTC (Iraq)
Contact details: [email protected]

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