Strategic position of SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC)website - In Africa, SPGRC is the first of its kind being the only fully operational regional genebank financially supported by Member States with high visibility globally. The materials maintained have regional and global importance in terms of addressing major challenges like, human health and nutrition, livelihoods and adaptation to climate change. The region, under Regional Integrated Strategic Development Programme (RISDP), desires to have disaster preparedness particularly for food security and access to food. While measures needed to achieve food security are complex, genetic resources are important components for achieving the goal. Because of this strategic importance, it is recommended that SPGRC needs to consider research and training as core functions, to enhance the value and use of the resources at home and elsewhere. Training can be mostly in a form of short courses, seminars, workshops and research attachments, to cover the specialised areas relevant and compatible with mandate and the on-going core activities.
Matching the activities of an organization to the environment in which it operates - The response which SPGRC is making to the changing financial environment by commissioning this study is a case in point. This response is being made in cognisance of the fact that the changes in the financial environmental have combined to threaten the position of SPGRC and yet they have also created opportunities for the Centre. It is recommended that SPGRC takes advantage of the current environment to mobilize new and additional financial resources through such mechanisms as creative use of physical and human resources for income generation and strategic partnerships in research.
- 1 Primary Education
- 2 Secondary Education
- 2.1 Lusaka Province
- 2.2 Copperbelt Province
- 2.3 Lusaka Province
- 2.4 Copperbelt Province
Genesis of SPGRC
- Agriculture is the main source of livelihoods and development in the region with small-scale farmers maintaining large numbers of landraces of different crops for most of agricultural production. The region experiences cyclic climatic extremes in some areas that result in serious losses of crops and livestock. The region has a wide range of ethnic groups that contribute to a corresponding wide range of cultures. This cultural diversity has in turn contributed to the development of crop landraces with specific characters that suit their cultural uses. The wide range of agro-ecological conditions and cultural diversity in the region as well as interaction with other cultures from outside the region has led to existence of numerous landraces adapted to specific environments and for specific uses in different cultural setting. Many of the exotic crops that are now very important for food security were introduced to the region during the early explorations, centuries ago. Examples of introduced crops that are now well adapted as major crops include: maize, beans, wheat, cassava, sweet potato and rice. These introductions have been selected to suit indigenous uses over time, thus creating secondary diversity in them. This secondary diversity is now very important for further development of the crop.
- A consultancy report on Agricultural Research Resource Assessment in SADC countries issued in 1985 was accepted as a framework for consideration by the Southern African Centre for Cooperation in Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Training (SACCAR). The report recommended, among other things, the implementation of a regional 20 year strategy for agricultural research in SADC Member States in order to increase the per capita input and output. The report also emphasized on improving smallholder farming without risking dramatic setbacks. To do so, the report suggested that National Plant Genetic Resources Centres (NPGRCs) could be involved in characterization and evaluation of the farmers’ material to enhance the work of breeders. In 1986, the SADC Member States concluded that establishment of a regional genebank would contribute significantly to development of agriculture and forestry and agreed to initiate a plant genetic resources programme under SACCAR. The SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC) was therefore established in 1988. It was argued that a common regional genebank with national support on a cost sharing basis would be the most efficient option. Subsequently, NPGRCs were initiated in the Member States, which together with SPGRC, form a well coordinated network of genebanks for the region. At its inception the members of SADC were nine (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe). During the course of implementation, the membership of SADC has increased to 15. New members include Mauritius, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Namibia.
- The functions of SPGRC are stated in Article VI of the Memorandum of Understanding Establishing the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre signed by the Member States.
- The functions of the SPGRC at regional level were to:
- hold the base collection of the member states;
- maintain and manage medium to long term storage facilities for active collections of the member states;
- arrange and provide for the collections to be safely duplicated in the Bioversity network, in a duplicate store under Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations Global System or elsewhere;
- acquire and exchange with NPGRCs relevant plant germplasm;
- develop, maintain and manage the Regional Central Accession Database for the indigenous PGR of the member states – ex-situ as well as in-situ;
- co-ordinate the inventory, collection, characterisation, evaluation, rejuvenation and multiplication of indigenous genetic resources material of the member states;
- co-ordinate the evaluation and documentation of introduced exotic PGR material in the member states;
- maintain and manage a medium and long term store for such introduced exotic plant genetic resources material as agreed to be of common interest for the member states;
- keep records in a Regional Central Database of such introduced exotic plant genetic material as agreed to be of common interest for the member states;
- publish a SADC Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter;
- prepare and issue catalogues of PGR available from or obtainable through the SPGRC;
- organise and conduct meetings and training activities in PGR.
- SPGRC also supports NPGRCs to
- gather, through exploitation and collecting expeditions carried out in the different ecological zones of the countries, information and material of PGR, of endemic and indigenous plants and exotic plants with a possible national evolution history, which are cultivated or used, or with a potential for cultivation or use, together with wild relatives of such species, and any species threatened with extinction;
- characterise, evaluate, rejuvenate, multiply and document indigenous and exotic plant genetic resources material;
- hold short term active collections of indigenous or exotic plant genetic resources material;
- manage the in-situ conservation, reserves and field genebanks;
- work in close collaboration with national plant breeding institutions for effective and sustainable use of PGR.
The SPGRC has since then made formal and informal agreements with a number of institutions including Bioversity International, The Global Crop Diversity Trust, SanBio through NEPAD for the purpose of improving collaboration and expanding its activities. The agreement with Bioversity International aims to promote collaboration through:
- Joint conceptualisation, planning, development of fund raising and implementation of projects and programmes related to the conservation and use of plant genetic resources for the SADC region, with priority thematic areas being defined by mutual agreement between the two parties.
- Exchange of scientific information, technical publications, technologies and methodologies that enhance efficiency and maintenance of high scientific standards in implementation of research projects and programmes related to the conservation and use of plant genetic resources, subject to existing institutional policies and/or conditions.
- Exchange and/or secondment of staff and provision of technical expertise as necessary and under mutually agreed terms.
- Participation in scientific and technical activities of mutual interest including joint planning and conducting workshops, training courses and conferences.
- Other activities and initiatives which both parties agree to undertake