Our research in Kafa region has identified 57 varieties considered to be locally rare – sometimes maintained by just one farmer - and in need of conservation effort. Farmers want to help conserve these varieties, along with traditional knowledge about how best to grow and process them, but they often struggle to find the rare varieties to add to their farms.
RGB Kew, in collaboration with Addis Ababa University, are helping farmers to access these rare varieties and are compensating them for the conservation service they are providing by growing and maintaining these plants.
Often the rarer varieties are not the most useful or best-adapted in present day conditions so farmers growing them experience an ‘opportunity cost’ for the benefits forgone by not growing a more common, useful, better-adapted variety in place of the rarer one. It is important that these farmers are adequately compensated for these costs so that they can continue to provide this important conservation service without being burdened by it.