Survey and conservation of farmers crop landraces in Northwest Syria. (English)
Yasser ALRAMADAN.Survey and conservation of farmers’ crop landraces in NW Syria
Syria is rich in plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), including locally adapted, culturally important farmers’ crop varieties valued for their nutritional and culinary qualities and for their resilience in harsh climates. However, there is evidence that the cultivation of these crop varieties is in decline and that some are at risk of extinction. This study has investigated the state and value of farmers’ varieties in northwest Syria and the factors contributing to their decline, by conducting a survey with farmers and agricultural experts. Results show that several varieties are no longer being cultivated or that they are only grown on a very small scale, indicating a loss of locally adapted genetic diversity. This diversity is essential for local communities and is of potential value for the improvement of major food crops of regional and global importance, particularly as a response to the impacts of climate change on agriculture. Interventions are urgently needed to mitigate this loss of diversity through on-farm conservation management.