Framework for transforming best practices for landrace conservation to policies

Traditional farming systems and conservation of local cultivars and associated indigenous knowledge are under threat and growing pressure resulting in genetic erosion of crop diversity. These systems are an essential component of sustainable crop production, household income and human nutrition for many of the poor farmers found in fragile semiarid ecosystems of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). With the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992, in situ conservation for crops and their related genetic resources has been given prominent mention in global and national policies for biodiversity conservation. In situ strategies are an important and complementary component of the overall agrobiodiversity conservation efforts that aim to conserve not only crop genetic resources but also crop evolutionary processes. However, policy support of the science and practice of in situ conservation, lag behind CBD commitment in much of SSA.