CURRENT AND FUTURE STRATEGIES AND PRACTICES IN THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE UTILISATION OF UNDERUTILISED FRUIT GENETIC RESOURCES IN MALAYSIA
Malaysia is one of the twelve mega-diversity countries of the world and is reported to house more than 500 species of cultivated, underutilised and rare fruit species. At present, the genetic resources of most of those fruit species are conserved ex situ in field genebanks with most of the collections conserved at the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) Field Genebanks situated at various MARDI Stations throughout the country. The collections include kuini (Mangifera odorata), bacang (Mangifera foetida), binjai (Mangifera caesia), cerapu (Garcinia prainiana), rambai (Baccaurea motleyana), asam gelugor (Garcinia atroviridis), terap (Artocarpus odoratissimus) and pulasan (Nephelium ramboutan-ake). Keeping those genetic resources in field genebanks is very costly. For instance, to maintain an area of about 100 hectares of field genebank of fruit in MARDI, more than one million ringgit is needed yearly. This paper highlights MARDIs effort towards on farm conservation aiming at introducing the strategies of on-farm or in situ conservation of underutilised fruit crops complementing the existing ex situ field genebank conservation approach. Small farmers in Malaysia possess diverse crops, trees and wild plant species, livestock and aquatic species in their home gardens to sustain their livelihood. Several surveys on underutilised fruit species conducted by MARDI showed high species richness in Kuala Lipis district in Pahang (S=69) followed by Sibuti in Sarawak (S=60) and Kota Belud in Sabah (S=49). Interspecific variation in Nephelium, Mangifera, Garcinia, Baccaurea and Artocarpus species were also noted. The use of diverse species and varieties enhances their adaptability and resilience capacity to changing environmental and economic conditions. The paper also discusses the early findings of the study which is currently looking at how small farmers in Malaysia manage and utilise underutilised fruit genetic resources found in their home gardens or farms leading to the in situ or on-farm conservation through the strengthening of the diversified use of the various fruit diversity occurring in their farms. Ultimately, experience and knowledge gained from this study will be used in formulating a conducive policy environment in order to have a viable in situ or on farm fruit conservation techniques or strategies in Malaysia.
Abdul Shukor, A.R., Mohd Shukor, N. and Salma, I. (2013). CURRENT AND FUTURE STRATEGIES AND PRACTICES IN THE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE UTILISATION OF UNDERUTILISED FRUIT GENETIC RESOURCES IN MALAYSIA. Acta Hortic. 979, 45-52
underutilised fruits, conservation and utilisation