Diverse uses

An international conference on "Using Diversity" was organised by the South Asian office of the International Development Research Centre in New Delhi between June 19-21, 1995. The main focus of the conference was enhancing and conserving agricultural or cultivated diversity.

The discussion revolved around understanding farmer seed and variety systems, participatory breeding and selection, seed or gene bank and supply systems and institutional mechanisms needed to ensure conservation and sustainable utilisation. A lot of heat was generated on the notion that commercialisation has been 1 of the main reasons for erosion of farm biodiversity and on the issue of ensuring access to seed or gene banks for farmers.

The role of women as the best managers of the traditional genetic or cultivated diversity was stressed on. It was also discussed in the conference whether one could visualise centres of cultivated biodiversity, the way we have created the centres for protecting wild biodiversity.