Biodiversity is one of the planet’s most important assets, a guarantee of balance and stability, climactically as well.The homologation of seeds and their belonging to a restricted group of multinational companies is one of the greatest threats to the health of people and the planet.
Research has begun to uncover, for example, that the increased frequency of many dietary intolerances, but also of diseases like diabetes and various types of tumors, is associated with growing food uniformity.It has also been demonstrated that the loss of biodiversity contributes to food and energy insecurity and increases systems’ vulnerability to natural disasters. Biodiversity benefits us all and must therefore be protected, and farmers are precious defenders of our environmental patrimony.
Salvatore Ceccarelli was Associated Professor of Genetic Resources and subsequently of Genetic Improvement in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Perugia until 1987. In 1990 he began working at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo, Syria, where he remained until 2011. Since 1995 he has been experimenting with participatory genetic improvement in countries including Syria, Jordan, Algeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Yemen and Iran.
Stefania Grando is an international consultant for the improvement of vegetal genetics with over thirty years of experience in the organization of research for development in Africa and Asia. She has concentrated her work also on the cultivation of barley, sorghum, and millet in terms of the adaptation of these plants in difficult environments, and in terms of the needs of farmers and consumers, in order to promote biodiversity as well as the adoption of participatory methodologies.