The Thessaloniki Declaration: We Save Landraces – We Use Landraces

Adhikari K, Azevedo V, Bebeli PJ, Chatzigeorgiou A, Gálvez A, Guarino L, Kotey DA, Ortega-Paczka R, Ranieri R, Spyrou S, Thanopoulos R and Maria-Valamoti S


At the beginning of the third millennium, humanity continues to face a range of fundamental problems that threaten to deepen the impacts of climatic change, poverty, hunger, and the loss of biodiversity. As a core problem, the degradation of agricultural biodiversity is increasing with serious and intensified implications for the availability, access, and use of landraces, which include indigenous varieties, native varieties, traditional varieties, local varieties, autochthonous varieties, folk varieties, heirloom varieties, local cultivars, and farmers’ varieties.1 As resources that have always been so crucial to food production, scientific research, plant breeding, crop innovation and environmental sustainability, landraces form an important basis for the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Being concerned about the continuous neglect of landraces by modern and industrial agricultural, seed and intellectual property laws and policies, during the Sixth Scientific Meeting of Landraces and Indigenous Varieties2 the Thessaloniki Declaration was adopted. As a global call to conserve and sustainably use landraces and to protect the interests of custodian farmers, peasants, indigenous communities and people all over the world, this Declaration represents the views, concerns and voices of the participants of the meeting and various like-minded individuals and institutions, including peasants’ organizations, farmers’ associations, indigenous peoples’ organizations, scientists, academics, developmental practitioners, and governmental and non-governmental organizations from regions all over the world.