Farmers involved in the project exhibited their traditional crop varieties at the Shanghai BioFach, attracting many visitors’ interest and establishing links to national-level markets.
Photo: giz

08.03.2012

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China is extremely rich in agricultural biological diversity, as many crop plants and domesticated animal breeds now found around the world originated from China. However, many of the traditional varieties and breeds have been pushed out of cultivation by modern high-yielding varieties, resulting in an alarming reduction in China’s agrobiodiversity resources.

For centuries, farmers in China have carefully selected and nurtured countless animal breeds and plant varieties according to local environments and their needs. Now, economic growth, agricultural production and conservation of natural resources have become competing objectives. Thus integrated approaches to balancing these objectives are needed. While the government of the People’s Republic of China has to address short term food security issues, it must also conserve its agricultural genetic resources in order to ensure long-term national and global food security. More than ever before, in the 21st century, the genetic diversity of plants and animals has a crucial role to play in our adaptation to the consequences of climate change, desertification, other environmental changes and new market demands. If important genetic resources are lost, they will no longer be available as building blocks for breeding plants and animals better adapted to a changing climate and newly emerging pests and diseases.

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