‘Varietal Threat Index’ Helps Monitor Crop Diversity

A methodology developed by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, the Varietal Threat Index, proposes a systematic way to monitor changes in varietal diversity on farm, between areas, and over time. The approach uses a rapid assessment technique to gather farmer knowledge about local agrobiodiversity, combined with a four-cell assessment method to identify and calculate the level of threat for each crop and variety reported, including both farmer and improved varieties. A study in India that involved 600 farmers identified significant diversity among landrace crops, but it also revealed that 76% or more of landraces were reported as vulnerable, near-threatened, threatened, or lost.