Bioversity International Highlights Crops Diversity for Climate Adaptation

Bioversity InternationalSeptember 2013: In a brief released on the sidelines of the fifth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) being held in Muscat, Oman, from 24-28 September 2013, Bioversity International explores the importance of using on farm crop varieties to help populations adapt to climate change.

The brief highlights efforts in East Africa, as well as in Asia, Pacific and Oceania to identify useful germplasm. It describes the "Seeds for Needs" project where multistakeholder teams are searching for adapted seeds from sorghum, pigeon pea and cowpea by planting different varieties at a number of bio-climatic sites in Tanzania and Kenya.

In contrast, in India, the "Seeds for Needs" project has been evaluating rice and wheat varieties that have been grown over the past 18 years under a range of agro-climatic zones. In Papua New Guinea, the initiative is examining adaptive traits of taro and sweet potatoes. In an effort to build South-South relationships, Indian universities are exploring opportunities to bring the lessons from their work on adapted seeds to parts of Africa, and to match seeds and sites from South Asia with East Africa.

The brief underscores how these activities use sustainable use, in situ and ex situ conservation approaches, farmers rights, technology transfer, climate change adaptation, access and benefit sharing (ABS), and international cooperation to build capacity and development results, consistent with the ITPGRFA. Bioversity International is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [Publication: Using Crop Diversity to Adapt to Climate Change: Highlighting the Importance of the Plant Treaty's Policy Support] [IISD RS Coverage of ITPGR 5] [Bioversity Press Release]