LEMRACE – Development and support of Lemnos’ conservators: Successful 1st action for the production of cereals pure seeds from Lemnian varieties

The project “LEMRACE – Conservation of the plant genetic wealth of Lemnos: local varieties for sustainable development of the Lemnian agrifood system” has begun dynamically on the island of Lemnos, in the place that has been systematically studied for the past 5 years by a plethora of scientists for its rich agrobiodiversity, under the coordination of MedINA. The aim of LEMRACE is to expand the multi-year, systematic efforts for the conservation and utilization of Lemnian landraces, with the first seminar, held on February 29th on the island, focusing on the crucial issue of proper seed production process of cereals.

The main speaker of the seminar was Dr. Ioannis Mylonas, responsible for the production and improvement of cereals, at the Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources of the Hellenic Agricultural Organization-DIMITRA (ELGO-DIMITRA), who informed the audience about the proper seed production practices and, more specifically, addressed the calculation of suitable seed quantity, the preservation of genetic identity, and the purity of traditional varieties, as well as the preparation of machinery, sowing, harvesting, and seed preservation for future cultivation
Rigas Zafeiriou, Programme Manager of Sustainable Food Systems at MedINA, spoke about the multidimensional significance of agrobiodiversity for the rural area of Lemnos, through a brief overview of MedINA’s conservation efforts.

On her part, Dr. Parthenopi Ralli, team leader at the Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources and Coordinator of the Gene Bank of ELGO-DEMITRA, presented the work of the Institute as well as the Greek Gene Bank, focusing on the actions taken so far, with interesting examples of in situ and ex situ conservation of agrobiodiversity in our country.

Finally, Danae Sfakianou, agronomist and Project Manager for LEMRACE, proceeded with the official presentation of the project, analyzing its objectives and individual actions.

Lemnos can now feel proud of its local variety “Krithari Panagias”, a lemnian barley landrace, which has officially been included in the National Catalogue of Cultivated Plant Varieties since 2022, following coordinated efforts by MedINA and local authorities. Efforts to support the agricultural sector on the island continue, focusing on the empowerment of farmers and the production of quality, certified seeds, so that Lemnos can once again become a seed breeding and production center.

The project “LEMRACE – Conservation of the plant genetic wealth of Lemnos: local varieties for sustainable development of the Lemnian agrifood system” is implemented by the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos (MedINA) and the Greek Gene Bank / Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources of ELGO-DIMITRA and is funded by the Green Fund.