This took place at a workshop at IICA’s Headquarters in San José, Costa Rica, which was organized by Crop Trust for the second time in a Latin America country.
San José, 11 May 2018 (IICA). 38 specialists from Latin American countries involved in agricultural research and genebanks met at the Headquarters of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture in San José, Costa Rica to upgrade their knowledge at a workshop periodically organized by Crop Trust, a non-profit entity with a mission to preserve crop diversity in order to protect global food security.
At the workshop on “Genebank Advanced Operations and Learning (GOAL) participants covered areas such as upgrading genebank infrastructure, quality management, the use of information technology such as bar codes and tablets and standards and conservation-related policies, among other topics.
A genebank is a repository of live plant material in the form of seeds and spores. Its overall purpose is to localize, collect and preserve plants that are considered valuable for our society. This preservation work is essential given the current threat that climate change poses to biodiversity.
“IICA wholeheartedly joins with Crop Trust in its six reasons for maintaining the importance of crop diversity preservation: to ensure food security, adapt to climate change, reduce environmental degradation, protect nutritional security, reduce poverty and ensure sustainable agriculture. We are pleased to host this meeting and I wish the organization every success in its work as guardians of America’s treasure”, said Lloyd Day, Deputy Director of IICA.
Since beginning operations in 1942 to benefit agriculture in the Americas, the Institute has focused some of its efforts on building seed banks at the regional level to enable better genotypes and varieties that are more pest- and disease-resistant, provide higher yields and are better adapted to different altitudes. For this reason, it supports meetings on this topic.
Throughout history, mankind has domesticated and cultivated close to 7,000 species but today relies on five cereals to supply most of the world’s calorie consumption needs: corn, rice, wheat, barley and sorghum, and a few animal species to satisfy the demand for protein.
The 2018 GOAL workshop was conducted by Crop Trust’s Genebank Quality Management Specialist, Janny Van Beem and the organization’s Information Systems Manager, Matija Obreza, and is the second such workshop to be held in Latin America. The first was in 2004 in Cali, Colombia.
This will also provide an opportunity to strengthen institutional partnerships and increase collaboration among professionals in the area of plant genetic resources, which are essential to a crop preservation system at the global level.
“Quality is not an end-point, it’s a process, and at Crop Trust we believe that genebanks require a solid quality management system (QMS) to guide and maintain the process to sustained excellence”, concluded Crop Trust’s Executive Director, Marie Haga.
Laura Meza, Principal Officer for Resilience and Agricultural Risk Management