For generations the conservation and use of agro-biodiversity has been a keystone of rural farm livelihoods, especially for women. But as modern agricultural methods become increasingly the norm, community seed banks and custodian farmers and associated indigenous knowledge have come to play an increasingly important role in the conservation and maintenance of the food crop genetic diversity that will be essential for long-term regional and global food security.

Dr. Gloria Otieno, head of the East Africa branch of the United Nations Agricultural Research Center Bioversity International in East Africa, is an on-the-ground practitioner and expert on issues of food sovereignty, food justice, and food security from both a human rights and an agro-biodiversity perspective. She promotes the conservation and use of agro-biodiversity among small and large farmers, particularly in Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.

Drawing upon both her expertise and recent fieldwork in in Lushoto (Tanzania), Rakai (Uganda) and Tentulipar (India), Dr. Gloria Otieno’s lecture onon November 3rd, 2015 highlighted the roles of agricultural biodiversity and indigenous knowledge in sustainable production landscapes and food & nutrition security in the Global South.


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