World crop diversity survives in small farms from peri-urban to remote rural locations
As much as 75% of global seed diversity in staple food crops is held and actively used by a wide range of smallholder farmers, with the rest in gene banks. This is the conclusion of a study by Karl Zimmerer, Steven Vanek and colleagues from the GeoSyntheSES (Geographic Synthesis for Social-Ecological Sustainability ) Lab at Penn State University, USA. They looked at new census data from 11 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and combined the data with field observations to develop an understanding of who is farming what and exactly where. Knowledge of potential problems faced by these farmers and plans for responses to potential disruptions of agriculture are important to preserve diversity and improve food security.
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