Nibbles: Yams, Wild relatives, Plant breeding, Bamboo, Funding, Leaves, Red rice, Rice breeder, Governance and poverty

3 Replies to “Nibbles: Yams, Wild relatives, Plant breeding, Bamboo, Funding, Leaves, Red rice, Rice breeder, Governance and poverty”

  1. Nice to see the SDC is still supporting Laos re. biodiversity. From 1995-2000 (and afterwards) IRRI had a major rice biodiversity project funded by the SDC in South and Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Central and South America. Laos was one of the focal countries.

    One of the GRC staff (Dr Appa Rao, ex-ICRISAT) was based in Vientiane, and helped the Lao national program collect more than 13,000 samples of rice varieties. These samples were sent for duplicate storage in the International Rice Genebank at IRRI. It was also good to see Lao rice breeders immediately starting to evaluate and use these varieties in rice breeding – one of the best examples I know of in a national program of conservation efforts leading on immediately to use. I say this because, unfortunately in many countries, conservation and use are quite distinct and separate(d) activities. I have PDF files of a number of the papers about the Lao conservation activities if anyone would like them.

    1. Mike: The background documentation on the Laos TABI project seems to ignore the ITPGRFA in favour of the CBD.

      Also it reports: “More recently conservationists and scientists have recognised that protected areas are necessary but not sufficient and focus began to turn to the role of multifuctional landscapes as important contributors to the management and conservation of biodiversity.” I have always been highly suspicious of the ethical and technical basis of this PA+ approach. After throwing farmers out of protected areas across the tropics for many decades the conservation community (that is, on the model from the US big boys and girls conservation agencies and the Yellowstone disaster) found that strictly protected areas without farmers did not protect biodiversity: no surprise as farmers have been managing tropical forests and savanna for thousands of years. Instead of letting farmers back into protected areas, the PA+ people kept on digging, now wanting to use farmers not for better farming (and the associated in-situ genetic resource conservation) but to protect yet more `biodiversity’.

      If `farmer-managed landscapes’ are the answer, then they are also the answer to the productive management of some now-decrepit and never-more-than-useless nature reserves. Let the farmers back in with samples of their 13,000 rice varieties conserved in IRRI. Governments across S.E. Asia have not yet valued the contribution of their wonderful hill tribes to national biodiversity conservation, a large part of the value of which is of crops.

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