Media Tour to wild congeners

May 6th, by the project  Bioversity International / UNEP-GEF “In situ/On farm conservation and use of agro-biodiversity (fruit crops and their wild relatives) in Central Asia” sponsored by the Institute of Genetics and Plant Experimental Biology of the Academy of Sciences of Republic Uzbekistan led by the Acting Director Dr. Rustam Usmanov was organized media tour for journalists created within Hudoybergan Sultanov’s project  demonstration zone on the wild forms of apple trees and Zulimov Nukunbek’s project  demonstration zone the wild forms of European walnut.

Studies held in Uzbekistan in framework of the project Bioversity International / UNEP-GEF "In situ/On farm conservation and use of agro-biodiversity (fruit crops and their wild relatives) in Central Asia ", have shown that the process of formation of local varieties and renovation of their assortment continues now. The role of the old varieties and wild relatives of horticultural crops - the repository of a unique gene pool, is increasing and is regularly used for breeding new varieties.
During the expedition surveys conducted in the framework of the project on the territory of Uzbekistan, identified 262 local varieties and forms of fruit crops, including 40 local varieties and forms of apple (Malus ), 15 local varieties and forms of pears (Pyrus L.) , 83 local varieties and forms of apricot (Armeniaca Mill.), 30 local forms of walnut (Juglans regia L.), 43 local varieties and forms of grapes (Vitis L.), 21 local variety pomegranate (Punica L.), 18 local forms of almonds (Amygdalus L.), 12 local forms of pistachio (Pistacia vera L.)
Local varieties are stored and maintained in a living form on farms and smallholdings. To preserve this rich diversity of fruit crops established 22 demonstration plots, of which 19 are located in the gardens, farms, and 3 - in wild forests. On demonstration plots grown 147 local varieties and forms of fruit crops, including 32 - apple, 11 - Pears, 36 - apricot, 9 - almond 14 - Walnut, 18 - Grape, 15 - and 12-pomegranate pistachio. In key nursery propagated 99 species and forms of the target fruit crops, including: apple - 23 pear - 12, Apricot - 14 grapes - 22 almonds - 11 Garnet - 13, Walnut - 4.
According to scientists, the territory of Uzbekistan is a Central Asian center of origin and domestication of many crops of global importance at the present time. Among them there are many fruit species, which occupy an important place in the human diet - apple, walnut, pear, pistachio, pomegranate, apricot, almond, grape, etc.
Man derived many varieties of crops that are spread around the world and are grown on large areas. However, due to population growth and increasing its needs, climate change and used variety in need of improvement, as productivity and their adaptability to a changing environment.
In recent years, people actively intervene in the habitat of wild plants and affects them negatively. Unrestricted grazing throughout the country (except reserves), haymaking and firewood, harvesting of fruit trees and shrubs, collecting medicinal herbs, technological impact, and so lead to the cessation of resumption of many plant species, including wild relatives of fruit trees and grape , reducing their habitat and numbers. All these species, research has shown that currently is under threat and requires the development and application of protective measures.
Project is carried out in five countries in the region - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and coordinated by Bioversity International with financial support from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and technical support from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). An executive agency of the project in the Republic of Uzbekistan is the Institute of Genetics and Plant Experimental Biology Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, which coordinates the activities of the project partners from many research institutions in Uzbekistan.
The main objective of the project is to support farmers in their conservation and sustainable use of local varieties of fruit crops and wild species as a valuable genetic fund; we have inherited from our ancestors. That is proven science, and practice that is most appropriate
preservation of local varieties and their wild relatives in the places of their formation and development that is in farmers' fields and farmers. This will effectively not only to preserve this valuable gene pool, but also use it in agricultural production.
It is also important to organize the education of farmers and increase their knowledge about existing diversity of fruit crops, allowing them to enrich the varietals assortment of fruit crops in their gardens. That’s why the participants of media tour visited Sultanov Hudoybergan’s demonstration zone the wild forms of apple trees and Zulimov Nukunbek’s demonstration zone the wild forms of walnut, where they could see the results of the project. It should be noted that the results of the project are impressive: conducted a large survey, organized several expeditions and created demonstration areas, where wild relatives of cultivated fruit crops. Media tour participants were satisfied: journalists have to please the readers, and organizers - the fact that a lot of work, achieved results, which can be proud to share.

Bogdan Schwarzmann {jcomments on}