On-Farm Diversity of Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera L) in Sudan: A Potential Genetic Resources Conservation Strategy
Although the main goal of traditional farming is to produce food, it can play an important role in conservation of genetic resources. This paper reports a study, which explored the diversity of date palm ( Phoenix dactylifera L.) cultivars grown by farmers and their preferences for different cultivars. The possibilities of using farms as sites for conserving genetic resources are discussed. The data for the study were collected from personal interviews that involved randomly selected date palm farmers in the Northern State and River Nile State, Sudan. Ordered and binary logit models were used to account for possible factors influencing the diversity of cultivars grown by farmers and preferences for different cultivars, respectively. The results showed that the cultivars grown by the respondents vary widely. On average, the Northern State respondents grew twice the number of cultivars as those in the River Nile State. Of all the date palm cultivars, the Barakawi was the most preferred. The diversity of the cultivars grown by the respondents and their preferences were mainly influenced by factors, such as farm location, drought, uses of date palm, years of farming experience, education, income from date palm and household size. The findings will help in designing a more sustainable date palm breeding program, as well as a genetic resources conservation strategy.
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