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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 176939, 13 pages
Research Article

The “Bringing into Cultivation” Phase of the Plant Domestication Process and Its Contributions to In Situ Conservation of Genetic Resources in Benin

1Bioversity International, Office of West and Central Africa, 08 BP 0931 Cotonou, Benin
2Laboratory of Agricultural Biodiversity and Tropical Plant Breeding, Department of Genetics, Faculty of Sciences and Technology (FAST), University of Abomey-Calavi (UAC), 071BP28 Cotonou, Benin
3Department of Crop Science (DCS), Crop, Aromatic and Medicinal Plant Biodiversity Research and Development Institute (IRDCAM), 071BP28 Cotonou, Benin

Received 16 January 2012; Accepted 28 February 2012

Academic Editors: D. W. Archer and V. C. Concibido

Copyright © 2012 R. Vodouhè and A. Dansi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


All over the world, plant domestication is continually being carried out by local communities to support their needs for food, fibre, medicine, building materials, etc. Using participatory rapid appraisal approach, 150 households were surveyed in 5 villages selected in five ethnic groups of Benin, to investigate the local communities’ motivations for plant domestication and the contributions of this process to in situ conservation of genetic resources. The results indicated differences in plant domestication between agroecological zones and among ethnic groups. People in the humid zones give priority to herbs mainly for their leaves while those in dry area prefer trees mostly for their fruits. Local communities were motivated to undertake plant domestication for foods (80% of respondents), medicinal use (40% of respondents), income generation (20% of respondents) and cultural reasons (5% of respondents). 45% of the species recorded are still at early stage in domestication and only 2% are fully domesticated. Eleven factors related to the households surveyed and to the head of the household interviewed affect farmers’ decision making in domesticating plant species. There is gender influence on the domestication: Women are keen in domesticating herbs while men give priority to trees.