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February 15th, 2019 / Yale Climate Connections, US

A four-minute documentary video on evolutionary plant breeding, a technique that can help farmers develop plant varieties that thrive in local conditions. In the video, Italian plant geneticist Salvatore Ceccarelli explains how the technique could help farmers around the world respond to problems posed by climate change and gain autonomy. Over time, individual farmers can develop crops that are tailored to produce well on their own land.

If you’re a farmer, there’s an easy way to obtain seeds, and there’s a hard way.

The easy way is to purchase seeds from a large agribusiness company. Such companies sell seeds with stable genetic characteristics, which means they reliably produce the same variety each year.

The hard way is to use a technique called evolutionary crop breeding. Using this method, farmers plant seeds containing a high level of genetic diversity. They observe which plants thrive in the local conditions. Then, the farmers collect seeds from the best-performing plants to sow during the next season. Read more and watch the video