Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

Farmer based seed adaption strategies and climate change

How to organise seed exchange, development and methods under changing conditions?

Organiser: Csilla Kiss, Réseau Semences Paysannes (France) and Protect the Future (Hungary)

Moderator: Heike Schiebeck, OeBV- Via Campesina Austria, International Commission Biodiversity andgenetic ressources of La Via Campesina

Guy Kastler, Reseau des Semence Paysanne, France
Salvadore Cecarelli, ICARDA, Syria
Bernd Horneburg, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Göttingen, germany
Patrice Gaudin de l'association Agrobio Périgord/Réseau Semences Paysannes, France

Small-scale family farming cools off the world through practices like carbon stocking in the soil, grass-fed livestock raising, animal waste recycled for nourishing the soil, mobilising peasant labour, proximity agriculture and direct marketing, peasant-led forest management… For centuries peasants have been breeding cultivated plants based on their features of interest, diversity and variability by choosing and conserving a part of their harvest for the purposes of resowing it. In this manner they allowed plants to adapt to the diversity of geographic regions and climate change and ensured the renewal and expansion of cultivated biodiversity.

This work is now made impossible by the standardisation of breeding conditions carried out in laboratories. This development imposed the technological package of Green Revolutions, including nitrogenous agricultural fertilizers and energy-devouring mechanisation, destruction of the soil’s humus, run-off of waste from factory farming, transportation, etc., to the field, thus heating up the planet. Protecting the intellectual property rights of lines, clones and the multiplication of manipulated cells imposes their stabilisation and blocks all capacity of adaptation to changes.

By leaving laboratories for plant breeding carried out with and for peasants in the fields, researchers have made a stand for a living diversity and the future of our food rather than the immediate benefits of the industry. The successes of « participatory plant breeding » on all continents are confirming them in their decision: How to shift research’s current focus on deadly « biotechnologies » towards participatory plant breeding techniques, the source of life and the path of our future ?

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Last Contributions

Background Papers and further reading

Decentralized-Participatory Plant Breeding: An Example of Demand Driven Research,
Mr. Ceccarelli, ICARDA, P.O. Box 5466, Aleppo, Syria.
It is widely recognized that conventional plant breeding has been more beneficial to farmers in high potential environments or those who could profitably modify their environment to suit new cultivars
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 Fr: "L’agriculture industrielle détruit la biodiversité et réchauffe la planète, L'agriculture paysanne renouvelle la biodiversité et refroidit la planète."
Contribution de Guy Kastler,
Alors que les plantes stockent le carbone dans les sols, les révolutions vertes ont amené l’agriculture industrielle à en libérer plus qu’elle n’en stocke et à aggraver ainsi le réchauffement climatique
... Lire plus

En: Industrial agriculture destroys biodiversity and heats up the planet, Peasant farming renews biodiversity and cools-off the planet.
By Guy Kastler, Réseau Semences Paysannes, France, and Biodiversity Commission of Via Campesina
Read the English Version of Guy Kastler's contribution

Adaptation processes need a base on-farm and in-garden as broad as possible
Bernd Horneburg, University of Goettingen, Dreschflegel, Kultursaat, Germany
Farms and gardens can (again) be centres of crop biodiversity and crop adaptation to a changing environment. The following examples highlight some aspects of the important work done by farmers and gardeners.

Training in crop conservation and plant-improvement
It is a common concern of many of us to develop means to pass on knowledge. As an introduction to the input I will present at our workshop you find below the major topics we have touched during a European meeting a year ago.

Farmer based adaptation strategies to climate changeLa sélection participative pour répondre au changement climatiqueBäuerliche Saatgutstrategien und KlimaveränderungEstrategias de adaptación de semillas basadas en la cultura campesina y el cambio climático

Local Organising Committee