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Identifying wheat landraces in Turkey

The International Winter Wheat Improvement Program (IWWIP) in cooperation with FAO Central Asia held a workshop to summarize the results of wheat landraces inventory in Turkey and develop recommendations and a work plan for future activities. The workshop was held in Ankara, Turkey, on 09 January 2013, and was attended by 80 participants from research, academic, and farming communities, as well as local and central administration. While national in focus, its participant pool was truly international, as attendees included Hans-Joachim Braun (Global Wheat Program director), Kakoli Gosh (FAO), Calvin Qualset (UC Davis), and Nigel Maxted (University of Bristol).

The landrace inventory discussed at the workshop began in 2009 and identified around 160 landraces still grown in 41 provinces of Turkey. Although the total area where they are grown is small, these landraces are very important to small farmers in remote mountainous regions. Even the farmers who have access to modern cultivars still grow these landraces because of their unique adaptation and suitability for homemade products. Furthermore, the landraces represent a huge reservoir of genetic diversity that can be utilized in breeding. As a result of the workshop, several recommendations were developed addressing in-situ conservation of landraces and their improvement and utilization in development of modern varieties.