Importance of agrobiodiversity and options for promoting its onfarm conservation and sustainable use: Case of West Asia dryland agrobiodiversity project
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Ahmed Amri, Kamel Shideed, Ahmed Mazid. (28/2/2006). Importance of agrobiodiversity and options for promoting its onfarm conservation and sustainable use: Case of West Asia dryland agrobiodiversity project. Aleppo, Syria.
West Asia encompasses the mega-center of diversity of species of global importance (wheat, barley, lentil, and many forage legume and fruit tree species) whose conservation will contribute to sustaining agriculture and food security worldwide. The landraces and wild relatives of these species form the basis of the traditional farming systems and contribute significantly to the livelihoods of local communities in the drylands and mountainous ecosystems in the countries in North Africa and West Asia. The GEF-funded project on conservation and sustainable use of dryland agrobiodiversity has developed a holistic approach to promote the conservation of the landraces and wild relatives of the species originating from Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority and Syria. The socio-economic and farming systems surveys showed that agriculture contributes to approximately 50% of the household income and that the landraces of barley, wheat, lentil, chickpea, olive, fig, are still widely used and contribute along with livestock to the livelihoods of local communities in the target areas. The technological, institutional and policy options are developed and tested within the project, which can contribute to the improvement of the livelihoods of local communities while conserving and sustaining the natural resource base and local agrobiodiversity. This contribution presents the relationship between local agrobiodiversity and the livelihoods of local communities and the examples of technologies, add-value and alternative sources of income to improve and diversify the incomes of the main custodians of agrobiodiversity.