Developing Markets for Agrobiodiversity: Securing Livelihoods in Dryland Areas

Front Cover
This wonderful book demonstrates how rural livelihoods - as well as diets, health and ways of life - are enhanced by the so-called neglected and underutilized plant species which, in the books Syrian case study, include such deliciously interesting things as capers, laurel, jujube and figs. Using value chain analysis the author illuminates the opportunities for strengthening arid land economies with attention to such species, while simultaneously maintaining the diversity and integrity of those plant genomes, landscapes and cultures. And keeping the world worth tasting. KEN WILSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE CHRISTENSEN FUND Alexandra Giuliani delivers a convincing and very practical account of how biodiversity products derived from neglected and underutilized plant species enter the markets in Syria. By highlighting the value of these plant products for the family income and health status of marginal farmer families in rural drylands and semi-arid areas, she brings the message home as to why it is so important to maintain biodiversity of the genetic resources not by protection alone, but rather through their judicious use. KATHARINA JENNY, SENIOR ADVISOR, FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SWISS AGENCY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION Just four crops - maize, potatoes, rice and wheat - provide more than 90 per cent of the worlds food. Old varieties of even these crops are disappearing as farmers and consumers strive for more uniformity in food products. This in turn affects less obvious elements, such as insects that play a role in pollinating plants or controlling pests and the soil organisms that help plants extract nutrients from the soil. Also, farmers need a broad base of agrobiodiversity to be able to respond and adapt to environmental changes and to improve their production. This is especially important in the face of climate change and changing economic and political pressures. This book from Bioversity International describes a study conducted in Syria of how communities are developing markets for local products derived from neglected and underutilized plants. Based on concrete case studies, the data and processes documented in this book show the potential of biodiversity to make a significant contribution to livelihood security in communities that inhabit difficult environments with unique resources. The study also highlights the importance of local cultural knowledge and institutions in sustainable development of biodiversity markets. Published with Bioversity International.
 

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Contents

1 Introduction
1
the potential of neglected and underutilized species to contribute to livelihoods
3
3 Methods
12
4 Species and their uses
23
species and market chains
43
species and livelihoods
73
7 Conclusions and recommendations
93
Bibliography
100
Annex 1 The Sustainable Livelihoods Framework
107
Annex 2 Household field survey questionnaires
109
Annex 3 Agroclimatic zones and agricultural regions in Syria
111
Annex 4 SWOT analysis of a potential joint venture for caper production and trading
114
Annex 5 The Participatory Market Chain Approach and MACAB
115
Index
120
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About the author (2012)

Alessandra Giuliani is a Visiting Research Fellow in socioeconomics at Bioversity International, based in Switzerland. In addition to her work in Syria and Italy with Bioversity International, she has also worked at the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris, and in private sector research and development projects funded by the European Commission. She holds a European MSc in Environmental Management from Rotterdam Erasmus and a degree in Statistics and Economics from the University of Rome. Bioversity International is an independent international scientifi c organization that seeks to improve the well-being of present and future generations of people by enhancing conservation and the deployment of agricultural biodiversity on farms and in forests. It is one of 15 centres supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

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