Conservation and Sustainable Use of Globally Important Agrobiodiversity

Azerbaijan is a traditional agrarian country with a high diversity of genetic resources important for agriculture. Despite this fact, the share of local varieties in production is only 5% for cereal crops and some 15-20% for vegetables. Picture credits: UNDP

Project Summary

Azerbaijan is a traditional agrarian country with a high diversity of genetic resources important for agriculture. Despite this fact, the share of local varieties in production is only 5% for cereal crops and some 15-20% for vegetables. This makes Azerbaijan dependent on imported seeds ant exposes it to the food security risk. To counter the development of such endangerments, UNDP and Ministry of Agriculture have agreed to develop the project that aims to ensure long-term protection for native genetic resources and promote agricultural practices using traditional crop material. The main goal of the preparatory phase of the project is to undertake the baseline studies and national consultations that will inform design of the full-fledge project. Specifically, the studies will help identify the pockets of high concentration of traditional crops and actual areas for seed planting; explore feasibility of establishing genetic databank and seed depository. The studies are also expected to analyse various options for the establishment of the Regional Association of Small-Scale farmers and give a more in-depth understanding of legal barriers to be addressed at the full stage of the project. The project will be implemented in three districts - Shaki, Goranboy and Goychay. Within these three districts, the project will further focus on selected crop wild relatives, cultivated native species and cultivated landraces of wheat, vegetable and forage crops. The project will aim to improve the protection of viable populations of indigenous wild relatives of crops and local landraces in their natural habitats, augment the conservation of indigenous wild relatives of crops and local landraces in plant genebanks to ensure an adequate source of genetic resources for plant breeding, and increase the production, and extent of use, of local landraces in agricultural smalloldings and commercial farms.

Project Objectives

The project has been structured into three complementary components and will be implemented over the course of five years.

Overall Objective of the 1st component: Specific objectives of the 1st component:
  • Expand the state of knowledge of agrobiodiversity.
  • Improve the knowledge base of Crop Wild Relatives (CWRS) and local crop landraces;
  • Establish and manage a network of conserved areas for CWRs;
  • Establish and maintain field gene banks for crop landraces;
  • Increase the production, storage and distribution of native crop seeds.
Overall objective of the 2nd component: Specific objectives of the 2nd component:
  • Build the capacities of, and improve the collaboration and cooperation between, agricultural institutions and small farmers
  • Build the capacity of agricultural institutions ;
  • Support the development of local farmer organisations;
  • Improve the knowledge and skills of local farmers.
Overall objective of the 3rd component: Specific objectives of the 3rd component:
  • Encourage the planting of agricultural products derived from the targeted native crop species across the three districts.
  • Strengthen the agricultural incentives toolbox for farmers;
  • Improve access to markets for local farmers.

Expected Results

  • Agricultural productivity will be improved and land degradation will be reduced through the increased usage of native crops (i.e. the targeted crop species) in the three project rayons.

  • Agricultural policies will be developed and institutions and local farmers will recieve the necessart support to conserve and sustainably use local crop varieties important for biodiversity and sustainable land management.

Project Accomplishments

  • Project expert team is recruited;
  • Baseline study is underway

2018

  • 2 CWR agrobiodiversity hotspots (5-10 ha) have been identified as prospective conservation areas;
  • Increase in area for wheat/barley varieties by 1-1.5% ;
  • Increase in area for vegetable crops by 0.7% ;
  • Increase in area for forage crops by 0.3% ;
  • 2 vegetable farmer-farmer networks are established in the Goranboy region;
  • Field gene bank of forage crops was created on the Absheron base station of the Genetic Resources Institute;
  • Field gene bank of cereal plants was created in Sheki, Qobustan and Tartar. 57 landraces and perspective varieties were planted in field gene banks;
  • In order to organize seminars in Ganja and Shaki, along with Baku, certain repair works have been completed in the subordinate buildings of the Agrarian Science and Informational Consulting Services Centre and the equipments were provided.

Status:

Ongoing

Project start date:

November 2016

Estimated end date:

December 2021

Focus area:

  • eradicate poverty in all its forms and dimensions
  • Project office:

    UNDP in Azerbaijan

    Implementing partner:

    AZE-Min. of Agriculture

    Full project information  

    Funding Support by

    Donor name

  • United Nations Development Pro
  • Global Environment Fund Truste
  • Amount contributed

    $3,146,156

    Delivery in previous fiscal year

    2019 $594,584

    2018 $1,229,537

    2017 $85,665

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