Farmers evaluating wheat varieties in the Tigray Region, Ethiopia.
Photo: J. Van De Gevel/Bioversity International


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In a world of rapidly changing conditions, enhancing the adaptability and hence the resilience of family farms is crucial to their viability. Here, diversity plays an important role, as the following article demonstrates.

Farmers world-wide are now dealing with extreme weather, new threats of pests and diseases, changes in land management and a growing and hungry population. Can we find solutions which not only ensure that farmers can cope with our new reality but also allow farmers and communities to continue to develop? These are core questions that scientists – including at Bioversity International – are exploring with urgency.

According to the Stockholm Resilience Centre, resilience is the capacity of a system, be it an individual, a forest, a city or an economy, to deal with change and continue to develop. Here, agricultural biodiversity has a vital role to play, for it is helping farmers to bounce back from shocks and hardship. Smallholder farmers have relied on the evolutionary service of biodiversity for hundreds of years – in other words, on allowing crops to evolve and adapt to changing environmental conditions, and diversifying them to reduce vulnerability.

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