Rice collecting in Uganda – materials to be included in the multilateral system

John Wasswa Mulumba, Head, Plant Genetic Resources Center, Uganda

The Head of the Plant Genetic Resources Center** (PGRC) of Uganda, John Wasswa Mulumba, has sent us a message about plans to collect rice germplasm in Uganda, confirming that the collected material will be included in the multilateral system of access and benefit sharing under the Treaty. The PGRC, in partnership with farmers,  local communities and research institutions will collect and conserve cultivated and wild rice germplasm under a Gatsby-funded project entitled ‘Collecting wild and cultivated rice from East Africa’.

The  PGRC, through the Uganda National Gene Bank, will safety duplicate samples of each accession with AfricaRice and IRRI. Those materials will be made available under the multilateral system.  

IRRI reports that rice collecting missions are also being coordinated with national partners in Tanzania and Kenya.

**The PGRC is an entity comprised of the historical Entebbe Botanic Gardens  (EBG) and the Uganda National Genebank (UNGB). It is part of the National  Agricultural Organisation (NARO) of Uganda. 

5 thoughts on “Rice collecting in Uganda – materials to be included in the multilateral system

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  2. I’m curious about this sentence: “Those materials will be made available under the multilateral system.” It seems to suggest that only the actual samples conserved at AfricaRice and IRRI will be in the MLS. That’s a misunderstanding on my part, right? People will also be able to request material from NARO, correct? Also, has NARO informed the Treaty, as well as your good self? How does one do that anyway?

    • Hi Luigi. I don’t know what their intentions are in this regard, but certainly that the most important thing is that new diversity is finding its way into the multilateral system, thanks the cooperation and agreement of the Ugandan government and stakeholders and research institutions involved. Whether ultimately the material is made available directly from NARO or though AfricaRice or IRRI is a secondary issue. This point is, it will be made available. I suppose that NARO will also make materials available as you suggest. Of course, if demand is very high, they may not be able to keep up with regeneration etc; one must bear in mind the resources limitations of some national genebanks.

      On a related note, the Second Meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Advisory Committee on the Standard Transfer Agreement and the Multilateral System considered the issue of how natural and legal persons could put materials in the multilateral system. One of the options identified was to deposit the materials concerned in a national or international genebank that could take responsibility for making them available from the moment of deposit onwards.

      I don’t suppose NARO has informed the Treaty of collecting missions that have not yet been conducted and materials that have not yet been collected. Of course, once it is confirmed that materials are in fact (either automatically or voluntarily placed) in the multilateral system, it is possible to use the draft notification letter that has been posted (in four languages) by the Treaty Secretariat at http://www.planttreaty.org/inclusions.

      • Right. It’s just that I find the idea of a local Ugandan NGO or even a farmer having to access the material through IRRI or AfricaRice because that’s the only place where it is available in the MLS rather strange, and hardly a secondary issue. But I’m sure that is not what is envisaged. Having supported the regeneration of endangered material of various crops at the Ugandan genebank, I am aware of the resource constraints faced by national programmes. Of course, duplicating that material at a CGIAR Centre takes some of the pressure off, and that is at it should be in a truly effective global system, but some responsibilities will always remain with national programmes, and that is also as it should be.

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