“Promoting the use and conservation of berry fruits for healthy diets in Russia: The strategic value of the Vavilov Institute and its germplasm collections Statement for policy makers and public policy in Russia”
St Petersburg, 30-31 March, 2011
On 30-31 March 2011 the scientific workshop entitled: “Promoting the use and conservation of berry fruits for healthy diets in Russia: The strategic value of the Vavilov Institute and its germplasm collections Statement for policy makers and public policy in Russia” took place at the N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry (VIR) .
The workshop was attended by the staff members of VIR, Global Crop Diversity Trust (Italy), Bioversity International (Italy), Centre de Recherche Public Gabriel Lippmann (Luxembourg), representatives of the Public Health Committee under Saint-Petersburg Government Arfenia Ter-Minasova, Ministry of Agriculture Igor Nechaev, All-Russian State Committee for Variety Testing in Agriculture (Leningrad region) Natalya Poliektova, staff members of the V.L. Komarov Botanical Institute under the Russian Academy of Agriculture Science and Saint-Petersburg Agrarian University.
During the two-day meeting there were presented scientific reports by both domestic and foreign specialists in horticulture as well as the results of the joint collecting mission to the Leningrad region and the outcome of the three-year project. One of the main tasks the project was aimed to addressed assessment of nutritional value of fruit and berry crops for human health. Agricultural biodiversity underpins the quality of human diets. However, within the Russian Federation there are certain trends towards simplification of foods and agricultural systems what caused a significant increase of diet-related chronic diseases.
Approximately 50% of the Russian population are overweight or obese, what is partially correlated with the decline of nutritional quality of diets and leads to the increase of diet-related chronic diseases. Preliminary estimates of the experts show that addressing dramatic increase in diet-related chronic diseases in Russia like cardiovascular diseases, stroke, diabetes and obesity will cost 550 billion USD in lost income to the Russian economy between 2005 – 2015. Meanwhile an increase in consumption of fresh fruits may help solve this problem.
Scientific research conducted in the framework of the international collaborative project let identify nutritional value for some fruit and berry crops of VIR collection stored at the Pavlovsk field genebank. Comprehensive biochemical studies revealed a rate of micronutrients for such popular crops of the North-Western region as black current, blue honeysuckle, raspberry and their possible health impact. In the modern world and especially in Russia, where a decline of population is considered to be a steady trend, the data obtained is of prime importance. The popularization of fruit and berry crops – a very important element of the Russian diets - at the State level may help fight demographic crisis the country is facing today. The scientific group plans to use its methods for evaluation of other collections stored at world`s largest genebanks.
The results of the project were published in leading international magazines. Besides that, a booklet addressing the most promising varieties of North-Western region of Russia such as rowan, black currant, raspberry and blue honeysuckle will be issued in the nearest future. It is supposed to reach a wide range of readers interested in gardening.