In the CBD’s definition, on-farm management of resources constitutes a special case in in situ conservation, one in which PGR are conserved and further developed within the framework of an agricultural or horticultural use. This concept originates from developing countries, where its importance with regard to the conservation and improvement of landraces is obvious. In countries with a highly specialized agriculture (e.g. Germany), where traditional landraces have largely disappeared from farmers´ fields and gardens, and seeds of high-yielding modern cultivars are easily accessible, the need of on-farm-management is less clear.

In agriculture and horticulture, planting activity worldwide is progressively concentrated to an increasing degree on a few types of crop, mainly due to the prevailing conditions of competition. Due to a lack of value creation or demand, plant-breeding activities also emphasises the more commercially-interesting cultivated species. If breeding programmes are not continued, a loss of genetic diversity is also to be expected.

Through on-farm management, crops not being processed in commercial cultivation activity can also acquire significance for planting purposes. That way, on-farm management can make an important contribution to the conservation of diversity of species among cultivated plants and also the diversity within species. Directly linked to this is a possible extension of the range of foods available and thus of diverse nutrition, rich in variety, or the innovative use of plants, e.g. for technical or energy-related purposes. If efforts prove successful in using funding measures and encouraging the desired behavior among consumers in nutritional and demand terms, this once again makes it attractive to farmers to grow native cultivated plants threatened by genetic erosion: accordingly, niche markets could develop.

On-farm management could also contribute to the increase of biodiversity in agricultural production by:

  1. increasing diversity of species,
  2. increasing diversity of varieties among neglected cultivated plants,
  3. increasing genetic diversity,
  4. the conservation of historically significant cultivated plants and methods of farming,
  5. the dissemination and cultivation of knowledge and practical skills,
  6. the conservation of niche markets for regional products.

PGRDEU contains the following data on the cultivation of threatened regional crop varieties in Germany:

  • Survey on Grapevine Genetic Resources in Germany 2007-2009
  • Cultivation data on regional agricultural crop varieties from country programmes of some Länder
  • Survey on Grapevine Genetic Resources in Germany 2007-2009