Capacity development for conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources for agricultural productivity, resilience and sustainable livelihoods in ECA

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Kampala inception meeting

Through a competitive grant scheme, ABCIC recently won the above project under ASARECA’s Eastern Africa Plant Genetic Resources Network (EAPGREN). This is a regional joint project of the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) of the following ASARECA member states: Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda. The project won by ABCIC is the regional component of EAPGREN. It will be coordinated by ABCIC and implemented over a period of four years in seven Eastern Africa countries (Burundi, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda). There are 15 institutions participating in its implementation including NGOs, Universities, National Agricultural Research Institutions and the private sector. The aim of the project is to enhance participatory gender-based approach to complementary conservation (ex situ and in situ) and sustainable utilization of several gene pools. These are two staple crops (sorghum and banana); indigenous vegetables African egg plant Solanum nigrum and Cowpeas (Vigna spp); two forages (Pueraria spp and Andropogon spp) and crop wild relatives of sorghum and cowpeas. In its implementation, the project will generate and upscale gender sensitive technologies, innovations and management practices (TIMPs) by employing novel technologies including genetic engineering, molecular markers, tissue culture/ in vitro techniques, genomics and bio-informatics, in addition to conventional approaches. 

It will conduct genetic diversity studies and use GIS tools in crop modeling for climate change adaptation. GIS tools will also be used in mapping eco-geographic distribution of species selection of gene bank accessions for characterization and evaluation. The project will enhance gender mainstreaming and disaggregation to ensure optimum benefits are obtained to meet the needs of the male and female farmers while at the same time maintaining a careful balance between conservation and use of plant genetic resources. Their rational and sustainable use will in no doubt lead to significant impacts in enhancing food security, development of the agricultural sector and increasing the resilience of agricultural production systems culminating in the overall economic well being of all categories of people in the target countries. It is also hoped that the sustainable utilization of these resources will lead to increased crop productivity, contribute to a green revolution, higher incomes and better livelihoods for both male and female smallholder farmers.

However, the effective contribution of plant genetic resources, to food security and sustainable livelihoods and economic development will require appropriate and enabling policy environments. This can be only provided through the development PGR policies and legal frameworks that will ensure the mainstreaming of the PGR, particularly in the agricultural and environmental sectors. The project will, therefore, play an advocacy role in order to enhance the development of legal frameworks and harmonization of plant genetic resources policies. An integral part of the project will be the development of scientific, technical and institutional capacities which will enhance delivery of the project’s outputs as well as sustainability of the activities. The project will build the capacity of actors along the value chains, PGR negotiators, farmers and stakeholders through specialized gender balanced regional training courses and post graduate training at both at both MSc and PhD levels. It is also imperative to enhance communication, information sharing and management. The project will, therefore, develop a communication strategy that will guide information access and knowledge sharing as well as awareness creation on conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources.

Expected project impacts
The project will develop crop technologies with improved economic traits and this will ultimately lead to increased food security, improvement of livelihoods, household income generation and resilience of agricultural production systems.

Overall goal of the project
Competitiveness of agricultural systems improved through conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources.

Specific Objectives

  1. To generate gender sensitive technologies, innovations and management practices (TIMPs) for enhancing conservation (ex situ and in situ) and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources in ECA

  2. To disseminate and up-scale TIMPs for the target genotypes 

  3. To enhance analysis and advocacy of plant genetic resources policies in ECA

  4. To strengthen stakeholder capacity for innovation and sustainability of PGR activities

  5. To promote communication, information and knowledge management on conservation, access, sharing and utilization of plant genetic resources in ECA


The project’s inception workshop was held in Kampala, Uganda from the 18th to the 23rd of August 2014. During the workshop the team developed budgets, work plans and implementation schedules. The implementation of the project is currently on-going in the participating countries.

Inception meeting in Kampala- News press

Inception meeting in Rwanda

Inception meeting in Rwanda

Inception meeting in Rwanda

Inception meeting in Rwanda