European University of Lefke (EUL) Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technologies Faculty Member Asst. Prof. Â Dr. Turgut Alas gave information on â€śThe Importance of Plant Gene Resources in terms of Agriculture and Foodâ€ť.
â€śThe aim in agricultural production is to obtain the highest yield by providing the necessary inputs. The application of all advanced techniques, the development of new varieties is essential to meet the needs of the rapidly increasing world population and to increase agricultural production. Plant Gene Resources are the biggest assistant of breeders in studies to be conducted in this direction. Today, the issue of genetic resources attracts a high level of attention from governments in many countries. The subject is discussed at international level. Interest and sensitivity towards genetic resources are growing. For many years, land, water and air have been considered as the main natural resource, â€ťsaid Alas, but he said that” genetic resources “were added to these as the fourth basic natural resource in the recent past and that plant gene resources have been extremely important for future plant breeding studies done in the past and today. He stated that what is important is the formation of genetic diversity.
Alas, â€śBeing self-sufficient in terms of plant genetic resources is the goal of all countries. However, no country can achieve this alone. For this reason, international and national organizations (IPGRI etc.) have been established. In our age, the collection, storage and use of genetic resources have gained increasing importance and sensitivity in order to increase agricultural production and stabilize at a high level, and it has been clearly understood that the protection of plant genetic resources for the future should not be delayed. Plant genetic resources constitute the biological foundations of global food security. Historically, resources that are in free circulation have begun to be considered as a commercial commodity thanks to the development of genetic biotechnology and the parallel increasing patenting opportunities in recent years, and new and effective restrictions have been introduced to their free circulation. The sharing of plant genetic resources, which are marketed for large sums, have an important place in global trade and serve as a raw material for processed seeds, has turned into an international problem at the point reached. drew attention to the necessity of taking relevant long-term strategic steps.
Alas, continuing his statement, â€śAgriculture and food security; It covers a wide area such as environmental protection, adequate healthy food production, seed ownership, import-export balance, agricultural economy, and each of these issues needs to be addressed and thoroughly examined from a national security perspective. One of the most sensitive topics in agriculture and food security is undoubtedly plant genetic resources. Living life and agricultural production are under threat due to environmental pollution and global warming caused by it. As a result of the wrong practices of human beings, natural resources are decreasing day by day. Collecting, reproducing, preserving and storing gene resources has become essential in terms of food safety. It is very difficult to calculate the economic impact of each of the genetic resources, because their contribution to agricultural production and its reflections on the economy are mostly indirect and very complex to calculate. Despite this, various calculations have been made for the global economic values of plant genetic resources and the annual contribution is calculated between 13-30 billion dollars. In addition to its serious economic impact, another important feature that makes genetic resources strategic is that it forms the basis of the agricultural sector, therefore the nutritional power of the society and the food security of future generations. “Because each seed breed has unique genetic characteristics, it has the potential to play a key role in the solution of agricultural problems that may arise in the future.”
Alas, stating that the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, signed by all the countries of the world today, has three basic principles;
1. Protection of resources
2. Sustainable use
3. Sharing the benefits arising from the use of resources by all countries
Stating that the countries are carrying out studies within the framework of the provisions of this contract, protecting the plant genetic resources and ensuring their sustainable production and working with other countries on this issue, Alas said, â€śFor this purpose, they are trying to shape these studies with national and international projects. Countries that carry out agricultural development projects to ensure their own food security also export many agricultural products and basic plants, vegetables and fruits, contributing to the provision of food security in their region and therefore to global food security â€ť.
Alas, continuing his words, â€śIn terms of agricultural sustainability, food security and economic development, countries are taking preventive measures for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources (water, soil and biological diversity, etc.). In this context, it is imperative to make significant progress in policy and legislation within the scope of adaptation programs for a better understanding of the economic, social, cultural and ecological values of biological diversity in general, and especially in agriculture, including plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. “The problem of sharing plant genetic resources is becoming an increasingly complex international problem as it gradually comes to the agenda of international relations and is at the intersection of critical areas that affect world politics.”