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Costa Rican government supports conservation of CATIE's seed bank
- CATIE conserves 71% of Costa Rica's genetic resources
December 18th. Last November the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of Costa Rica (MAG) made a monetary donation for the conservation of the seed bank collections of CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza). This support is in response to Executive Decree No. 002-2018-MAG published in La Gaceta the previous June 8, in which it was established that the Government of the Republic declared of public interest the conservation of genetic resources in the long term by CATIE and that institutions of the national agricultural sector can contribute with resources to ensure the conservation of germplasm.
The collections kept in the cold room of seeds is currently composed of 6201 accessions, representing 14 botanical families, 61 genera and at least 125 species. The most important collections are those of ayote, chile, tomato, bean and maize. Many of the accessions are unique and are not represented in collections elsewhere.
"The collection of Cucurbitaceous, such as ayote, is the second most important worldwide in terms of its overall size and the first in terms of the number of accessions available internationally," said William Solano, CATIE researcher in plant genetic resources.
The germplasm bank was formally established in 1976 as a centre for the conservation and use of Central American plant genetic resources. The collections were placed under the auspices of FAO in 2004 and two years later came under the jurisdiction of FAO's The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT PGRFA).
In addition, Solano explained the importance of this donation: "This collaboration, apart from helping us to conserve seeds, benefits us so that the materials can be evaluated and used by institutions in the Costa Rican agricultural sector such as INTA or INDER. This as a strategy to improve food security, develop new businesses and address climate change.
On the other hand, these seeds are extremely important since CATIE signed the FAO The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT PGRFA), making the germplasm available for worldwide distribution and for diversification and improvement of the crops they conserve.
Researcher in plant genetic resources
Priscilla Brenes Angulo
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