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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Genetic diversity of watermelon and the contribution of community practices to its conservation on farm

Mujaju, C.; Johansson, E.; Labuschagne, M.


Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus), belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, is commonly grown in traditional agrosystems throughout the drought-prone areas in southern Africa. It is used as sweet watermelon accessions (Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus) containing almost as much variability as cow-melons (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides). In Zimbabwe, the wild-weed-landrace complex structured into three unique sets of alleles confirming the three major forms with limited admixtures. Evaluating the importance of a practice for the conservation of local cultivars illustrated that farmers grow different forms of watermelons based on their known value for cultivation and use. Most watermelon forms grown by many farmers on large areas have a high value for cultivation and use, mostly being used for human consumption and livelihood income. Many such forms of watermelon grown on large areas have a diversity of uses. The study also revealed that sustainability of a practice is closely related to the contribution of a practice to conservation of watermelon diversity. The rarity of local cultivars is also a reflection of the erosion of the indigenous knowledge systems concerning their value for cultivation and use. Practices that meet basic farmer livelihood strategies and conservation efforts should be promoted, and incorporated into national agricultural and biodiversity policies as a farmer incentive and to allow for germplasm exchange.


Watermelon; practice; local cultivars; on farm; conservation

Published in

Book title: Cucurbitaceae 2012. Proceedings of the Xth EUCARPIA Meeting on Genetics and Breeding of Cucurbitaceae. October 15-18th, 2012, Antalya - TURKEY
eISBN: 978-605-63297-0-8
Publisher: Çukurova University


10th EUCARPIA Meeting on Genetics and Breeding of Cucurbitaceae, OCT 15-18, 2012, Antalya, TURKEY

Authors' information

Mujaju, C.
Department of Research and Specialist Services, Seed Services Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Agrosystem
Labuschagne, M.
University of the Free State

UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

URI (permanent link to this page)