Phenotyping of hemp cultivars in Valley of Dolni Lomna. Our breeding plot is located in…
Mpondo Landrace . . . From the coastal area we moved to the deep inland of Mpondoland. Valley of Mzintlava river in the area around the border of the Ntabankulu and Flagstaff municipalities. Area of the Mpondo landrace.
Rural area of hundreds of valleys, green rocky mountains crossed by the Mzintlava river. Place where the landrace Cannabis is farmed for generations by local people. The same people who have been heavily oppressed in the past, when their fields and homesteads were systematically sprayed with herbicides by police to dismiss their farming activities. Even these days, almost four years after SA Cannabis decriminalization, these farmers are still subject of illegal activities. Non-licensed cultivation is the issue for government. Yet, it is a large part of income for whole communities, but also their traditional way of living.
Once we got into the valley, we could set eye on hundreds of various scale fields carved from foothills down to the river banks. Some fields are just sown, some ready to be harvested. All stages of Cannabis morphological development could be seen in the one place. Narrow leaves landrace with short internodal stretch and good branching tendencies carries small flowers with strong pine and diesel scent.
The phenotypic variability of the plants is quite high, but some of more dominant phenotypes can be observed and differ over locations, as the plant’s performance is changing slightly due to different agri and envi conditions.
The centuries of natural selection alongside with the farmer’s selective pressure plays a big role in creation of landrace perfectly adapted into the given geographical conditions.
Even various degrees of uniformity are observable for some of morphological traits, we have to assume the genetic diversity of the Pondo-ladrace to be very high to be able to facilitate further evolutional development.
It is the highest importance to preserve and protect the landrace strains not only to maintain genetic biodiversity, but also theirs cultural and economical values for the rural farmers all over the world.
We are ready with a little support to some of Mpondo farmers to keep their fields geneticaly intact and preserve their landrace variety for future generations.
Ondrej @ caseeds 7/2022