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FAO Releases Second Report on Plant Genetic Resources

26 October 2010: The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has published the Second Report on the State of the World's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA).

The report provides a summary of the main changes and needs in managing, safeguarding and using PGRFA to increase the PGRFA contribution to global food security. It highlights that land clearing, population pressures, overgrazing, and changing agricultural practices are leading to genetic erosion. The report underlines that genetic information held in certain crop varieties is crucial to the development of heat, drought, salinity, pest and disease-resistant, fast-growing, high-yielding new varieties, which are essential for helping farmers respond to climate change.

Its core messages include: the need for plant breeding capacity to be strengthened and plant breeding programmes strengthened to develop varieties with traits to meet the challenges of food security and climate change; the importance of diversity in farmers' fields; the need to continue to secure diversity through national genebanks; and the importance of information technology and molecular biology in introducing new techniques for PGRFA conservation and use. The report underscores the importance of countries adopting laws and regulations for biodiversity. It calls for better communication, collaboration and partnerships in dealing with PGRFA management. [PGRFA Report]