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Mugla’s Local Fruits : Database and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (Turkey)


Titre : Mugla’s Local Fruits : Database and Conservation of Cultural Heritage (Turkey)

Pays : Turquie

Numéro projet : TUR/SGP/OP4/RAF/07/01/01

Domaine : Biodiversity

Durée : 12/2007 — 1/2009

Bénéficiaire : Fruit Heritage Working Group

Turkey’s agricultural biodiversity, to which many cultures have contributed over thousands of year, is today being rapidly depleted by agricultural policies, globalisation, population growth and other socio-economic factors. This depletion is threatening the food resources of future generations and eroding cultural diversity. It is estimated that three quarters of agricultural genetic diversity have been lost over the past century, and that reducing the number of food crops cultivated commercially worldwide to around a hundred. Hundreds of fruit varieties that are adapted to soil and climatic conditions, resistant to pests and diseases, and require little or no irrigation, chemical fertilisers and pesticides have been developed all over Turkey. Today, however, most heritage varieties are disappearing as a result of urbanisation, rising land prices and cultivation costs and the increasing difficulty of finding markets. The province of Muğla, which is one of Turkey’s Major Plant Resource Areas and where, as a foremost tourist destination, the demands of the tourism sector are putting excessive pressure on land and resources, has been selected as the pilot area for drawing up an inventory of traditional varieties, which are not only a valuable source of genetic material and agricultural biodiversity, but also represent an important cultural legacy. The province’s mountainous terrain and large number of small family farms mean that agricultural diversity remains high in Muğla, where citrus fruits, grapes, figs, almonds and olives are foremost among the agricultural crops of economic importance. Preliminary work on the project began in 2006, and with the establishment of the Fruit Heritage Working Group in April 2007, it has made rapid headway. With the support of the ANG Foundation field research has continued over the past six months, covering ten of Muğla’s twelve administrative districts.
So far over 400 local varieties, representing 28 fruit species, have been identified. For 200 of these varieties, samples have been collected, photographs taken and specimen forms filled out. Taking into account the fact that different names are occasionally given to the same varieties in different villages, some of these varieties may be found to overlap. Nevertheless, the results so far point to significant levels of diversity for certain species, confirming that Muğla was an appropriate choice as a pilot area in cataloguing the local fruit varieties that are a core part of Turkey’s cultural and agricultural heritage.
With the support of SGP and the other organisations which are backing the project, it is planned to continue field research and other activities in line with the project’s aims for the next year, starting as of December 2007 ; cataloguing local fruit varieties and ecologically friendly agricultural practices, identifying feasible in situ and ex situ conservation methods, and investigating potential markets. In addition an educational programme will be launched in the 2007-2008 school year. Before active steps can be taken to generate a market for the crops as a contribution to rural development, it will be necessary to complete the inventory of local fruit varieties, identify producers with a potential surplus and consult the views of local people.

Grant Amount (GEF Small Grants Programme) : US$ 30,000.00
Co-Finanshing Cash : US$ 20,950.00
Co-Finanshing in-Kind : US$ 16,300.00

GEF Small Grants Programme

Page publiée le 25 août 2017, mise à jour le 4 avril 2018