modernisation

Population expansion coupled with urbanisation of fertile agricultural lands together with modernisation in every aspect of human daily activities which create biodiversity are getting eroded in direct and indirect ways. Deforestation, land degradation, coastal development as well as environmental stress collectively lead to large scale extinction of plant species, more importantly, agricultural food crops, which drives food security and agricultural production.

Genetic diversity can be described as the key pillar of biodiversity, and of course diversity within species as well as between species and ecosystem, which is echoed in Article 2 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). But the challenge is as a result of modern crop varieties, particularly the types developed primarily for high yielding potential under well-endowed production conditions–such varieties are often unsuitable for low income farmers who are found in marginal production environments and face high variable stress conditions.

It is worthy to note that traditional varieties have also been found to exhibit higher stability, thus adaptation over time, in situation where agriculture output is low, and of course under marginal environment, therefore their cultivation may contribute to farm level resilience in the face of food production shocks. This is very true for countries including Ethiopia, and Ghana, among others, where agro climatic conditions become a problem, the pace to technology progress is slow, market institutions are become poorly developed, and poor infrastructure. The aim of conservation genetics seeks to maintain genetic diversity at many levels as well as to provide important tools to ensure population monitoring and assessment which can be applied for conservation planning.

Climate change and genetic diversit The most profound and direct impacts of climate change over previous decade and the next few decades will surely be on agriculture and food security. The effects of climate change will also depend on current production conditions. Food production systems rely on highly selected cultivars under better endowed environments but it might be increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts such as pest and disease. If there is a decrease in food production levels, the result will be huge pressure to cultivate crops under marginal lands or perhaps even go in for unsustainable measures which over time degrade lands and resources and eventually impact biodiversity in a negative way on agricultural lands. Sadly, this is a common occurrence in developing countries.