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Initial Activites in Agro Biodiversity Conservation in Republic of Macedonia

Place: macedonia, Europe
Sustainable management of natural resources Sustainable management of natural resources
Total Budget: € 0,00 | Period: From January 2003 To December 2003

Summary

The project covers only a small region of the countrywith general goal to build models for inventorization,collection, documentation and storing of local varieties and breeds and their on-farm conservation that could be applied later on in other regions.

Partnership

Faculty of Agriculture, Skopje - Macedonia

Lead applicant

Center for Applied Research and Permanent Education in Agriculture - Macedonia

Initiative partner

The centre’s goals include: the improvement of the utilization of human and technological resources, widening the activities of the Institutes for Research, increasing the efficiency of the research process, and a more practical education for students and farmers. To this end, CIPOZ cooperates with both national and foreign university institutes, non-governmental and government organisations, local and foreign farmers, and food producers. The centre’s activities include: • Technology transfer to SMEs, including implementing projects, seminars, trainings and workshops; • Research, development and application of new technologies; • Quality control of agricultural products; • Permanent education of all participants in agriculture through seminars, lectures and consulting; • Production and processing of agricultural productions; • Consulting services and publishing.

UKIM Institute of Agriculture Skopje - Macedonia

Initiative partner

Research work is the main activity of the Institute. Since its establishment, research work of the Institute follows the principles of:  Freedom of science work;  Autonomy of Scientists;  Scientists ethics in carrying out the science researches;  Science opinion diversity;  Engagement, openness and collaboration on international level;  Inviolability and protection of human rights and dignity and other. Scientific activity of the Institute is focused on finding new technical-technological solutions to the problems in agriculture and their applications to the problems in agriculture and their application in the production field. Furthermore, domestic population material and introduced crop varieties, vegetable, vine and fruit varieties; finding efficient and modern methods for plant protection from plant pests and diseases, as well as investigation of physical-chemical and mechanical soil composition and improvement measures. Results obtained for genetic variability of domestic populations and introduced varieties of certain cereal, vegetable, fruit, and vine species enable research activities to be focused on inventing new high–yield and high-quality genotypes of the agricultural produce. Activities are partly concentrated on identification of the rich natural polymorphism and on collecting and exploration of domestic autochthonous population material of cereal, vegetable, vine and fruit species has been carried out. Research work in the field of viniculture and wine production is mainly concentrated on various investigations of agro-biological and economic-technical features of the new created vine varieties. Extensive researches of the introduced material of vine varieties foe wine and table wine production have been conducted. Clone selection, hybridization and creation of new disease and low temperature resistant vine varieties for wine and dessert wine production has been carried out. Extensive researches in the field of wine production has been conducted in order to create high quality wine with known geographic origin, to improve wine quality control and entire technology of quality wine production. Research work in the field of fruit growing is mainly directed to investigating agro-technical and economic measures for fruit production promotion, region-based fruit production, introduction and selection of fruit species and varieties. Considering present conditions in the field of fruit production, application of new methods in production of virus-free planting material I s necessary. The Department of Fruit Production owns laboratories and modern equipment for creation of virus-free planting material, in which extensive researches in the new biotechnology process have been made. Research work in the field of plant protection is concentrated on application of modern methods in disease and pest control. Thereby newest science achievements and approaches in the field of plant protection are applied directly into the process of plant food production. The Plant Protection Department is equipped with laboratories for Phytopathology, entomology, virology, as well as chemical laboratory for quality control of pesticide formulations.

The main goal of the project was conservation of agro-biodiversity from the south-eastern region in Republic of Macedonia as an important component for breeding, organic production, rural development, promotion of healthy food, promotion of national heritage, etc.

Initaly the project covered only a small region and later served as a model for inventarization, collection, documentation, storing of local breeds and on-farm conservation that was applied in other regions. The social aspect of the initiative was also important in terms of establishing good cooperation between the farmers and institutions as well as experience and knowledge sharing. 

The identification and collection of local agro-biodiversity is important for food security from many aspects. First of all, local varieties and breeds are well adapted to the local geographical and climate conditions, therefore their production is relatively easier than the production of many newly introduced varieties. Furthermore, the fertilization and pest/disease control is manageable with lower inputs, since they are grown in the local regions for many years and have developed natural resistance. This is important from economic point of view. At the end, the consumers are accustomed to these local varieties as they are used in the traditional kitchen.
The use of these varieties and breeds is suitable for production of healthy products such as organic or eco production. 

The achieved results were:
Educated farmers about the value of these varieties and breeds as national heritage, their collection and on-farm preservation in 76 farms from eastern part of the country, covering Maleshevo and mountainous region of Strumica. Collected data about 89 fruit varieties, 200 forms of cereals, 19 field crop varieties,207 forms of beans and 276 vegetable varieties. Traditional breeds of pigs (black pigs) wereevidenced in 3 villagesranging from 1-12 sows (matorici) as well as 40 (grla)bulls. Characterization by collecting passport data. Collected seed and genetic material for further evaluation. On-farm conservation of collected varieties and breeds. Raised awareness of the farmers and public, Published protocols for various conservation steps, brochures for various groups of crops (cereals, vegetable) and livestock breeds; Presented results in scientific conferences; Established cooperation with local community office for supply with brochures, seeds and advices

Several groups of beneficiaries can be identified such as:
Scientists and researchers that are provided with valuable genetic material and with model for conservation and characterization of agro-biodiversity in the country.
Farmers from the region educated for on-farm conservation and suitable production practices. Particular beneficiaries are the organic producers that can conserve and use these varieties and breeds in their production.
Local community in general can benefit from this initiative because the production of these local varieties and breed can increase the possibilities for economic development by promotion of traditional local products with high quality, organic production and development of rural tourism. 

Project was initiated by the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Food – Skopje, Center for Applied Research and Permanent Education in Agriculture under leadership of two professors in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture – Skopje, represented by one professor. The implementation of field activities was facilitated by 3 field agents based in Skopje and two other cities from the region. 
During the project activities the team consulted other national and international experts from the field of agriculture and biodiversity.The members of 72 farm holds were included in the field activities, as well as members of the local communities. 

During the project implementation there were not significant obstacles that changed the implementation or duration of planned activities. 

Agriculture based on local varieties is characterized with low chemical inputs and is in favour of healthy ecosystems. In general, these landraces provide decreased sensitivity of the agro ecosystem to pests, insects and other natural forces, that are frequently introduced with foreign varieties. They have significant role in the environment protection regarding problems with erosion, expansion of green surfaces, followed by absorption of carbon dioxide.
Genetic diversity of species will supply useful genes and could provide alternative options for agricultural diversification. Thus, contributing to more sustainable agricultural systems supporting the development and maintaining the quality of the natural environment. The on-farm conservation contributes to maintenance of adaptation and evolution processes, having in mind that such a dynamic conservation is including wild relatives and microorganisms that could be in interaction with the domesticated crops and races.

The major benefit for the agro industry can be recognized in different forms. Bringing on mind the fact that most of the farmers in the proposed region are poor, without significant or any income from other sources, the main outcome was economic development of the society. For that purpose the on-farm conservation practice had to be transferred to the farmer groups, exploring it as a new technology towards increasing the value of their production and boost private sector. Therefore, this initiative assisted the farmers businesses in several fields such as:recommendations for better farming practices, improvement of seed supply system, and assistance in finding markets and expanding their businesses.
For scientific purposes, the transfer of this model is applicable to other regions of the country. 

The dissemenation of the results was organized on several levels by:
Preparation of posters, flares and booklets containing short description of the most important and interesting material found;
Publishing protocols for various conservation steps, as well as brochures for various groups of crops (cereals, vegetable) and livestock breeds;
Presentation of the results in scientific conferences and national country reports;
Members from the team gave interviews about the project on two local TV stations and one radio channel to promote the acitivities and project results.