Theme 1. Unlocking the value and use potential of genetic resources

The four RTB Centers (Bioversity, CIAT, CIP, IITA) play a leading role in the global conservation of RTB genetic resources both in farmer fields and natural habitats in their centers of origin (in-situ) and in genebanks (ex-situ). Each belongs to the “Clonal Crop Task Force” of the InterCenter Working Group on Plant Genetic Resources, which works to preserve, add value, and safely distribute RTB crops.

Over 30,000 accessions of RTB crops are maintained by global collections

Bioversity-Musa Banana

1,298 accessions

CIAT Cassava

6,592 accessions

CIP PotatoSweetpotatoAndean Root and Tuber Crops

6,948 accessions

8,108 accessions

1,564 accessions

IITA BananaCassava

Yam

Cocoyam

290 accessions

2,783 accessions

3,360 accessions

41 accessions

 

Theme 1’s overall objective is to build upon the existing competencies of the four CGIAR Centers involved in clonal crop conservation to implement global conservation strategies for RTB crops in close collaboration with the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and regional and national genebanks. The intent is to put genebanks at the forefront of efforts to conserve, increase, and better exploit the diversity of RTB genetic resources conserved and to better document the germplasm. This will permit researchers and farming communities to make faster and better use of the germplasm, to address biotic and abiotic stresses faced by RTB, mitigate the effects of climate change, improve nutrition, and supply new and expanding markets.

Specific objectives include:

  • To ensure that the ex-situ conservation of RTB crops is efficient, relevant, and cost-effective.
  • To strengthen and better understand in-situ conservation and on-farm management towards resilient livelihoods.
  • To improve the coverage of in-trust collections.
  • To stimulate the use of RTB germplasm through characterization, description of agronomic features, reaction to pests and diseases, abiotic stresses, and nutritional and technological traits.
  • To promote the use of germplasm by facilitating access to information.
  • To strengthen the global system for the safe exchange of germplasm.
  • To advocate proactively for the value of genetic resources to policy makers and donors.

One of the key products generated by Theme 1 is germplasm of wild species, landraces, cultivars, and improved material, mainly as virus-free plantlets. They are made available for use by RTB breeders for adaptation and improvement. The challenge is to build efficient partnerships with national actors to reach end-users (farmers).

 

The figure below shows the impact pathways envisaged for Theme 1.

rtbstheme1