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International Alliance strengthen the use of Genetic Resources preserved by CATIE

  • The Center retains more than 6,000 accessions for the food security of humanity

A working group made up of Costa Rican and international organizations met last October 5 and 6 at CATIE (The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) with the objective of finding solutions for financial sustainability that will enhance the use and access of the crops conserved in the Orthodox Seeds Germoplasm Bank of this Center.

The Costa Rican Ministry of Agriculture (MAG), represented by the National Seed Office, the National Institute of Innovation and Transfer in Agricultural Technology (INTA), and the University of Costa Rica (UCR) comprised the alliance; the Global Crop Diversity Trust, an international organization working to safeguard crop diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is also an allied representing the international community.

William Solano, a researcher on plant genetic resources and a representative of CATIE in the working group, said that the support shown by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica, Luis Felipe Arauz, is a key support for recognized international organizations to join the project to strengthen the work of CATIE’s Germplasm Bank.

Ramón Lastra, consultant of Crop Trust, said that the exponential growth of the world population has created a greater need for food and in this germplasm bank exist the way to produce new varieties of crops with higher production or disease resistant. “Any challenge facing agriculture can seek a medium-term solution through the CATIE Germplasm Bank. This collection represents a food reserve for the whole world, so it must be preserved for the well-being of humanity¨.

For his part, Geoff Hawtin of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources commented that there is great interest for this material to be maintained and distributed around the world. He added that this collection is particularly important for small producers in developing countries, so it is necessary to continue to grow and be available to the international agricultural community.

CATIE’s Orthodox Seed Germplasm Bank was created in 1976 in Turrialba, Costa Rica, in order to locate, collect, preserve and characterize plant germplasm which, based on their attributes, are considered of prime interest for the benefit of humanity, as well as contribute scientific knowledge oriented to conservation optimization.

The more than 6,000 accessions of the collection include crops such as chile, tomato and squash which are used for the development of a sustainable, competitive and biodiverse agriculture through the aim of contribute to food security and the fight against rural poverty.


More information: 

William Solano
Researcher in Plant Genetic Resources
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Shirley Orozco
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