The history of cultivated plants in Finland stretches back some 3,500 years. Cultivated plants usually arrived in Finland from elsewhere with new settlers. Landraces were still widespread in the early part of the 20th century, but then improved varieties produced in plant breeding programmes began to gain ground in the 1920s. As a consequence, the landraces, which were well adapted to local conditions, are no longer grown to any large extent, and thus they no longer contribute to the diversity of our grain fields. The characteristics of the landraces are little known and they are in limited use in agriculture today.
It is essential for food safety now and in coming generations that we can safeguard the gene pool. Because we cannot know what we may need in the future, it is important to maintain the widest possible selection of genetic material for the use of farmers, researchers, plant breeders and other users. Landraces of both plants and animals are a part of our invaluable heritage and the history of our nation. The most common way of preserving genetic materials is to deposit seeds in gene banks. Apart from that, the most natural preservation method would be to cultivate plants in their original environment. Subsidies are available for the preservation of landraces and old commercial varieties of cereals.
Making the most of the gene bank
Giving a chip about masa
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Global farming trends threaten food security
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