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Czech Republic's Garlic in danger of extinction

Czech scientists are working to save the domestic garlic, whose presence in the market has been giving way gradually to imports of garlic from China. In recent years, in the Czech Republic an extensive collection of species of garlic have been brought together.

Garlic is one of the most popular vegetables in Czech cuisine. Its annual consumption is estimated between 6,500 and 7,000 tons. However, in recent years its cultivation was substantially reduced and soon may disappear completely. In 2010 about 1,500 tons of garlic were produced in the country, according to the Bureau of Statistics.

The main cause of the reduction of national garlic crops is the import of Chinese garlic, although it can not reach the attributes and the size of the national one, it is much cheaper, so that is it is the consumers choice.

In order to retain the large variety of national garlic, scientists have turned to Czech cryopreservation method as claimed Miloš Faltus, expert from National Botanical Research Institute, in Prague.

"Garlic, stored at cryogenic temperatures around 200 degrees below zero, can be stored long-term without losing their normal physiological qualities after thawing. Garlic can be preserved quite well during tens and even hundreds of years," said Faltus.

The problem of displacement of the national garlic due to the cheaper Chinese offer, is also being faced by other countries in Europe like Germany, France and Spain, one of the largest garlic producers worldwide.

However, Czech has the advantage of having one of the major world collection of garlic species. This collection is found at a scientific center in the city of Olomouc, east of the country, and contains about 640 varieties of this plant. Some do not exist elsewhere in the world, as emphasized by Miloš Faltus.

However, domestic garlic crops continue to disappear. While 20 years ago, garlic in this country had been planted on 1,300 hectares in 2010 it only held 70 acres. This also worries scientists, said Jaroslava Ovesná, deputy director of the National Botanical Research Institute in Prague.

"The problem is that the garlic does not reproduce by seed but by the bulbils that form the heads. The new crops depend on how much garlic is grown again and the weather. If there is little domestic garlic production, scientists do not have enough material available for research and to seek new methods of conservation of this vegetable."

Moreover, while on the Czech market there is an increased demand for Chinese garlic because of its low price, it is not likely for farmers to want to engage in this type of crop.

There is still hope for the Czech garlic and national scientists, lately consumers in the Czech Republic are increasingly aware that the imported garlic does not reach the national qualities, and begin to give preference to quality, although more costly.



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