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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 429: XIII International Symposium on Horticultural Economics

THE COST OF MAINTAINING GENETIC RESOURCES FOR CASSAVA MANIHOT ESCULENTA CRANTZ

Authors:   J.E. Epperson, D.H. Pachico, C.L. Guevara
Keywords:   Germplasm, Genetic resources, Genetic diversity, Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz)
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.1996.429.51
Abstract:
Plant germplasm is a nonrenewable resource, and, thus, cannot be replaced once it is gone. The goal has been to assemble and maintain as much plant genetic diversity as possible given the knowledge base, the security and availability of plant materials, and cost constraints. This study focused on one of the world's most important vegetatively propagated commodities, cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz). As a major constraint to germplasm preservation, costs represent a chief consideration. The cost analysis for this study encompassed the field and in vitro cassava collections at the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), near Cali, Colombia. Considering total costs, the cost of preserving cassava germplasm at CIAT was less in the field. This finding may be traced to the lower cost of hand labor in a developing country. However, variable costs were quite high for the field collection relative to that for in vitro. A large part of the cost for both operations was due to labor. However, labor was considered part of the fixed cost for the in vitro collection and part of the variable cost for the field collection. Skilled labor is required for the in vitro facility and cannot be varied in the short run without endangering the security of the collection. As a result, greater cost savings can be achieved by reducing accessions and replications of accessions in the field collection where prudent. If for security reasons, it is appropriate to replicate the cassava in vitro collection in another country, the implied lowest-cost location for such a facility would be in a developing country.

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