Seeds without borders: sharing crop diversity to adapt to climate change
In this article on the CGIAR website, Michael Halewood of Bioversity International reports on the workshop ‘Mutual Implementation of the Plant Treaty and the Nagoya Protocol in the context of wider policy goals’, held Nov. 16-20 in Addis Ababa. The meeting focused on how countries can identify and access diversity they need and share associated benefits. An earlier report (PDF) by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) shows that some crops which are vital for food security in Africa’s rain-fed agricultural systems, such as maize, common bean and banana, are facing climate-related losses of up to 40%. This means that countries urgently need varieties of these crops, or even different crops altogether, which can adapt to the changing conditions, both now and in the future. Sometimes those crops can be found within their own borders. But increasingly, farmers and breeders are having to look for gene-based traits in plant genetic resources from other countries.