Biodiversity conservation and use of crop genetic resources, vectors of sustainable development in the Indian Ocean - GERMINATION II

The Germination project aims to bring together expertise in crop genetic resources (CGR) within a regional network. The goal is to enhance these resources and, beyond that, to protect biodiversity in the Indian Ocean.
Cassava at the station in Bassin Plat © R. Carayol, CIRAD
Cassava at the station in Bassin Plat © R. Carayol, CIRAD

Cassava at the station in Bassin Plat © R. Carayol, CIRAD

Issues

In a world in which food is based on just a few field crop species, there is an urgent need to better understand and protect plant species that have been neglected, or so far underutilised by research and development agencies. These include starchy plants and legumes, which can contribute significantly to the basic food requirements of populations.
These plants have a wide variety of cultivated forms and adapt well to the different ecologies of the Indian Ocean countries. This biological diversity ensures the continuous adaptation of these species to climate change and to the arrival of new diseases or pests, which is key to the sustainability of cropping systems.

Description

Following on from phase I of the Germination project, and based on the  network developed, the new project presents specific joint actions to create synergies between the expertise of the different partners in the region. The Germination project aims to use crop genetic resources (CGR) to increase agricultural production and food security, while protecting the environment. To achieve this, it focuses on the development of varieties or ecotypes that are more resistant to diseases and parasites, and suited to low-input farming systems.

Expected changes

The capacities of partner institutions (research organisations, technical centres) in terms of the conservation of their national genetic resources and of the diversity of plant material made available to farmers will be strengthened.
In addition:

  • Inventories of national CGR will be made available;
  • National collections, with accessions of major food crop species or neglected species collected will be created and regularly updated;
  • A quality management system and a tool for managing accessions for the Vatel biological resource centre will be implemented;
  • Protocols for the collection, addition and morphological characterisation of the main species will be harmonised;
  • Analyses of the morphological and genetic diversity of cassava and taro varieties will be conducted and made available;
  • The different varieties of cassava will be sanitised  and preserved in vitro.

Expected impacts

  • The Indian Ocean countries will work together to inventory, collect and establish CGR collections.
  • The Indian Ocean countries will characterise the phenotypic diversity of CGR using harmonised methods.
  • The capacities of project participants will be strengthened.
Contract partners:
 ARMEFLHOR (Reunion Island)
INRAPE (Union of the Comoros)
University of the Comoros - Faculty of Science and Technology
DAHARI (Anjouan, Union of the Comoros)
FOFIFA (Madagascar)
Centre Technique Horticole de Tamatave CTHT (Madagascar)
University of Antananarivo (Madagascar)
FIFAMANOR (Madagascar)
Seychelles Agricultural Agency (Seychelles)
Commission for Agriculture Mauritius (Rodrigues)
University of Mauritius
FAREI (Maurice)
Commission de l’Agriculture de Rodrigues (Maurice )