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Sustainable Use and Management of Crop Genetic Resources: Landraces on Hungarian Small Farms

Listed author(s):
  • Ekin Birol


    (Homerton College and Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)

  • Melinda Smale

    (International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC, USA and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy)

  • Agnes Gyovai

Crop genetic resources are natural assets that are necessary for future crop improvement. In isolated, marginal production environments where markets function imperfectly, farm families depend on them directly for food. In recognition of their importance, international agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture encourage national governments to support their sustainable use and management, on farms and in gene bank collections. Hungary is a signatory to these international agreements. The aim of this study is to contribute research-based information to support the design of efficient and equitable conservation programmes for socially valuable crop landraces still found on small farms in Hungary. Landrace cultivation and richness is predicted with a Poisson hurdle model applied to data from a statistical survey of 323 households in three pilot conservation sites. Poorer, larger farm families with older decision-makers, who are more isolated from market infrastructure, are more likely to grow landraces and maintain greater landrace richness. Those managing smaller farms with lower quality soils and less irrigation have higher predicted probabilities of growing landraces. Findings suggest that the development of market infrastructure may contribute to abandonment of landraces, although specialised markets for high-quality products merit further investigation. Where economic development opportunities remain limited, supporting the continued management of crop genetic resources on farms could have positive equity implications and address other social goals, although the full cost and benefit implications of relevant policy instruments would need to be assessed in the context of Hungary’s national agri-environmental programme.

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Paper provided by University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economics in its series Environmental Economy and Policy Research Working Papers with number 02.2005.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision: 2005
Handle: RePEc:lnd:wpaper:200502
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