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Farmers have managed genetic resources for as long as they have cultivated crops - ever since they first domesticated plants by selecting those individual plants with useful characteristics for food or fibre quality, yield or suitability for cultivation. But farmjers' role in the management of genetic resources has been undermined by the"Green Revolution" approach to agricultural development. New varieties bred in the international research centres have displaced many of farmers' traditional varieties all over the world, and their own local knowledge over natural resources has been eroded. Against this background, farmers' groups, non-governmental organizations, and some scientists working with farming organizations, have been struggling agains the official tide to maintain and develop their traditional varieties and farming systems. In this book some of these activitists from around the world present their experiences of managing plant genetic resources. The contributors document the achievements of farmers in developing crop varieties tailored to their needs and demonstrate how these approaches can be built upon to promote both conservation and development. they demonstrate how government programmes can undermine farmers' efforts at conservation in some countries, but actively promote them in others. Above all, they illustrate the inventiveness of a range of community-bases groups. Other chapters survey the limitations of the formal system of plant genetic resource conservation and improvement, and all for new approaches. There is growing recognition of the vital importance of plant genetic resources for world food security and of the crucial role of small-scale farmers in developing sustainable approaches to agriculture. This timely book provides valuable examples of how farmers can successfully manage their own resources.