As much as 75 percent of global seed diversity in staple food crops is held and actively used by a wide range of small farmholders - workers of less than three to seven acres - with the rest in gene banks.
The researchers looked at new census data from 11 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and combined that data with field observations to develop an understanding of who is farming what and exactly where. What the census shows is that small farmers, in many cases women, are the ones preserving landraces of food crops. In between periurban and marginal areas are a range of environments where small farmers grow crops and preserve diversity. Knowledge of potential problems in these areas and plans for responses to potential disruptions of agriculture are important to preserve diversity and improve food security.
Read the full article in ScienceDaily here.