Международный договор о генетических ресурсах растений для производства продовольствия и ведения сельского хозяйства

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
Where are we working?

In the mountainous areas of Albania, agriculture is of an extensive nature, with a low level of agricultural inputs, limited use of hybrid seeds and irrigation, and a low level of mechanization. Climate change is a challenge. Long-term drought in summer, very low temperatures in winter, and increased flooding have caused substantial damage to agricultural production. The introduction of improved local varieties will strengthen farmers’ capacities to face climate change, while creating the basis for increased farm production and securing improved food security and income growth for their families.

What are we doing?

  • Identification of local varieties of maize and bean, as well as collection, characterization, selection and pre-breeding.
  • Evaluation and characterization of some selected local crop varieties of maize and bean.
  • On-farm multiplication of some selected and improved local varieties of maize and bean.
  • Technology transfer techniques related to on-farm conservation and use of plant genetic resources for food security.
  • Field demonstration of crop selection techniques and crop production technologies.
  • Strengthening of seed system capacities, through provision of genetically improved seeds.
  • Increased knowledge of selection and pre-breeding techniques in order to produce new varieties resistant to climate change impacts.
  • Multiplication of selected locally adapted accessions of maize and bean.
  • Distribution of locally adapted planting material of maize and bean, to be cultivated by farming community.
  • Treatment and handling of the locally adapted genetic material to be used in the future, for further improvement and breeding.
  • Collaboration and participation of all public and private stakeholders in project activities: germplasm collection, evaluation, selection and field multiplication.

What has been achieved to date?

Four locally adapted varieties of maize and bean have been identified, collected, conserved and improved. Farmers have been actively involved in the process of characterization and selection of targeted crops. In addition, seed system capacities have been increased, in order to provide farmers with quality seed of adapted local cultivars.
Local seed systems have been established and strengthened through the multiplication of and distribution to farmers of 10,500 kg wheat, 3100 kg maize, 2200 kg beans and 2300 kg apple seedlings, all locally adapted.
To date, about 520 farmers have been supported with quality seeds of maize and bean, and a total of 800 kg of certified seeds have been distributed to them. This has been achieved through seed multiplication, under the supervision of local experts and with the direct participation of farming communities. In the context of this project, diversification of local agricultural systems has been achieved. Many farmers now have the possibility of growing local varieties and crop populations, which were not previously cultivated. This has been achieved through training and capacity-building in the collection and multiplication of local crop varieties. To this end, three experimental farms have been established for seed selection, multiplication and field demonstrations.
Two local populations of maize and two local cultivars of bean have been characterized, evaluated, documented and pre-bred for traits of importance to adaption and resistance. Also, five packages and tools (germplasm, information, know-how and technologies) have been co-developed and transferred to researchers, professors, agricultural experts etc.
Through different project activities, four national institutions have been supported to strengthen capacities in plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) management, including the Ministry of Agriculture, the Institute of Plant Genetic Resources, the Agricultural Technology Transfer Centres (ATTC) and the Agronomy Department.

Who has benefited?

Direct beneficiaries are farmers living in remote mountainous areas, whose farm income is low and whose livelihoods are at risk due to the effects of climate change. During project implementation, 520 farmers have benefited from selected seed, 65 percent of them women. Other project beneficiaries include 60 local agriculture specialists and 12 professors and researchers at the Department of Agronomy of the Agricultural University.
Indirect beneficiaries include 5 farmers’ groups, with an average of 10 persons/group, totalling around 50 farmers, and 3 small- and medium-scale seed traders, who are interested in buying good quality locally adapted crop seeds, to sell them to other groups of interest.

Best practices and success stories

The best practices identified from project implementation so far are the following:
  • One of the most important lessons learned is that participatory approaches that directly involve beneficiaries in project activities enhance the project’s chances of success and sustainability.
  • Cooperation with scientific institutions, such as the National Gene Bank, Agricultural Technology Transfer Centres, local authorities, the Ministry of Agriculture and other institutions involved in PGRFA management has proved crucial to project sustainability.
  • Women's participation in project activities has significantly increased its effectiveness. Such involvement is a guarantee of long-term sustainability and of the prospects of scaling up and out, since women account for about 60 percent of the workforce in rural areas of the country.

The success stories achieved during project implementation are:
  • The availability of food in the targeted area has increased by 30 percent. This was achieved through the development of new crop varieties that are much more productive than existing crops.
  • The availability of high-yield and resistant crops has increased by 50 percent. The collection, characterization and evaluation of genetic material of targeted crops have provided farmers with resistant crops for on-farm cultivation.
  • The availability of improved high-quality seed has increased by 50 percent. The development of seed selection and production systems has created a strong base, enabling farmers to use high-quality seed on their farms.
  • The availability of local cultivars of maize and bean, with high nutritional value, has increased by 45 percent. The main product of the evaluation, characterization and selection process was the identification of new varieties of targeted crops that have high nutritional value. The market value of crops has increased by 30 percent. Targeted crops that were adapted locally have a higher market value, and in this context, consumer demand has increased by about 25 percent.
  • Information exchange and technology transfer have increased by 35 percent, compared with before the project. This has been achieved through training, workshops and direct communication during field days, demonstrations and other activities.
  • Institutional capacity and development for the collection, management and sustainable use of PGRFA have increased by 50 percent.
Beans, Maize
Window 2 - Immediate action projects
Region: Europe
Target Countries: Albania
Implementing institution: Agricultural University of Tirana: Link to dedicated website
Partners involved: National Gene Bank; Ministry of Agriculture (Agriculture Technology Transfer Centres)
Contact details Agricultural University of Tirana, Rruga Pajsi Vodica, Kodër-Kamëz-Tiranë;, Albania - Tel: (+355) 47200 869, Fax: (+355) 47200 874

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