“From a global perspective, the single focus of gene banks seems to be on collecting and preserving whatever samples they can find, and they call that conservation. We, on the other hand, believe in conservation through use, in keeping diversity alive as you use it, without compromising the diversity already built up over centuries by farmers. But this approach is taken in far too few cases“says Dr Worede
Dr Melaku Worede is an Ethiopian plant geneticist who has been a pioneer in shifting global perceptions and attitudes towards recognising the vital importance of on-farm diversity as a strategy to increase and conserve biodiversity. He has always been one of that rare breed: a scientist who puts the farmer first.