??July 1969, Erna Bennett, Genetic Conservation and InformationSpecialist from the Crop Ecology and Genetic Resources Branch of theFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), carriedout a mission in Greeoe searching for and collecting primitive wheatvarieties native to the mountains and valleys of that country. Theseprimitive wheat races are one of the world's richest storehouses of thegenetic characteristics that plant breeders require. They will build desirable characteristics from crops as old as agricultural man, likebuilding blocks, into new high-yielding varieties. But old races arebeing swamped by the spread of modern varieties, and in certain azeasand in the case of certain crops - emergency measures are necessary tocollect these old races before they disappear completely. FAO and otherleading international crop improvement organizations are increasinglyconcerned with the conservation of primitive crop??ces, in whoseamazing diversity hides the promise of betterlcrpps to come.Sofik6n, north-east Pelop6nnisos. Threshing wheat. Threshingmachines of this sort travel through Greek villages, ??.cept in themost isolated areas. In each village, the entire grain harvest isgathered in one place to await the thresher's arrival.