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Bradburn, Christopher, 2014. Thousands of plant breeders: women conserving in situ crop genetic resources : a case study in the Medak District of Telangana, Southern India. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of People and Society



This study focuses on in situ conservation of landrace crop varieties in the Medak district of the southern Indian state, Telangana. The objective of this work was to investigate two main questions: 1) Under what unique conditions are smallholder peasant farmers willing and able to continuously grow local, landrace crops? 2) What characterises the women farmers who grow local landrace crops in this district of landrace crop origins?
A Systems Thinking methodology was used to develop and analyse the data. 101 surveys were given out across 14 different villages to build a context of what types of farms exist in the region, how they are situated, and the proportions of landrace crops grown in the area. 36 semi-structured interviews were undertaken for a deeper insight into the farmers' values and perceptions concerning landrace and modern varieties of crops. All data was collected via the Deccan Development Society network.
The results showed that there are unique socio and ecological conditions in the Medak that do make the area an important and functioning region of in situ conservation efforts for many landrace crops. 1. Ecologically, the district is semi-arid with scarce rainfall and general soil nutrient unbalances, this renders many modern variety crops unsuitable allowing locally adapted landraces the default crop to be used. 2. Socio-economically, farmers are without financial means, therefore, much of the investments needed for agricultural modernisation is inaccessible to them i.e. synthetic pest management inputs, irrigation, land size, etc.
The quantitative results showed that smallholding farmers conserve the most overall crop genetic diversity. This is understood for various reasons: 1. Little market integration characterised by direct on farm consumption of crops grown 2. Functioning and sprawled rural communities 3. Negative perceptions towards modern variety crops 4. Some limited institutional support 5. Functioning markets that demand local, landrace crops 6. Tradition.
The Medak district is a functioning area of in situ conservation for many landrace crops, and will continue to be while farmers work within the boundaries of the six points noted above. The continued sustainability of these efforts rests in the next generation whose values may depart from their fore-families while India itself goes through major agrarian changes, and education becomes more accessible.

Main title:Thousands of plant breeders: women conserving in situ crop genetic resources
Subtitle:a case study in the Medak District of Telangana, Southern India
Authors:Bradburn, Christopher
Supervisor:Hofny-Collins, Anna and Francis, Charles
Examiner:Hunter, Erik
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2014
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM005 Agroecology - Master's programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of People and Society
Keywords:landrace, seeds, conservation, in situ, traditional, genetic resources, plant breeding, peasants, women, systems thinking, climate change
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Agricultural economics and policies
Plant ecology
Deposited On:07 Jan 2015 13:52
Metadata Last Modified:07 Jan 2015 13:52

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