Launch of the Resilient Seed Systems resource box

Women of the community seed bank of Gumbu, South Africa. Photo: R.Vernooy

Women of the community seed bank of Gumbu, South Africa. Photo: R.Vernooy

Farmers from around the world are telling us that better access to crop and varietal diversity might help them to adapt to climate change. Under supportive policy and socioeconomic conditions, such strengthened adaptive capacity could contribute to greater food availability throughout the year, the production of more nutritious and healthy crops, and income generation.

Researchers are increasingly using climate and crop modeling tools to predict the adaptive capacity of a given crop to expected changes in climate. The results of these modeling exercises can be used to design strategies to access and use crops and crop varieties that are expected to be better adapted to future climate changes in specific locations. Researchers, gene bank managers, extension agents, and farmers could then gain access to these potentially useful plant genetic resources through the multilateral system of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture or other means. Once obtained, these “new” plant genetic resources can be evaluated in target environments through on-farm experimentation over one or more cycles.

To assist countries design and implement a comprehensive capacity-building strategy to access and use plant genetic resources more effectively in the context of climate change adaptation a team of Bioversity International researchers developed a resilient seed systems resource box. This resource box is an on-line tool containing eight modules that represent the steps of a dynamic research cycle: 1. Situational analysis and planning; 2. Data preparation and selection of software; 3. Climate change analysis and identification of germplasm; 4. Germplasm acquisition; 5. Field experimentation; 6. Germplasm conservation; 7. Participatory evaluation; 8. Knowledge sharing and communication.

The resource box is intended for plant breeders, researchers, gene bank managers, and policymakers with an interest in plant genetic resources, university lecturers and advanced students with an interest in agricultural development, adaptation to climate change, and seed systems, and others involved in the strengthening of farmers’ seed systems and their capacity to adapt to climate change.

Access the resourc box at: http://www.seedsresourcebox.org/

We look forward to receiving feedback on the content and practical use of the resource box.

Ronnie Vernooy, on behalf of the contributors

 

“Resilient seed systems: tools and techniques for climate change adaptation”

Giving farmers better access to crop and crop varietal diversity will strengthen their capacity to adapt to climate change. Climate and crop modeling tools are increasingly used to project the adaptive capacity of a given crop to the expected changes in climate. The results of these modeling exercises can be used to design strategies to access and use crops and crop varieties that are better adapted to future climate-changes in specific sites. Researchers, genebank managers and farmers could then attempt to gain access to potentially useful plant genetic resources through the multilateral system of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Once obtained, they could evaluate these new plant genetic resources in farmers’ fields.

(Photo: R.Vernooy)

(Photo: R.Vernooy)

Bioversity International is assisting Bhutanese and Nepali research and development agencies to design and implement a comprehensive capacity building strategy to access and use plant genetic resources in the context of climate change adaptation. The workshop “Resilient seed systems: tools and techniques for climate change adaptation,” held in Thimpu, November 26-28, 2013, aimed to strength the capacity to integrate climate modeling in crop improvement strategies. Topics covered were: identification of farmers’ perceptions of climate change; analysis of climate changes and their impact on seed systems; identification of plant genetic resources that have potential to adapt to identified climate changes; mechanisms for the acquisition of plant genetic resources that have potential to adapt to identified climate changes; and planning of field testing of newly acquired plant genetic resources. 20 participants from Bhutan and 8 from Nepal attended the workshop. GIS tools introduced were DIVA-GIS, MaxEnt, and the climate analogue tool. Resource persons were Prem Mathur, Sarika Mittra, Michael Halewood and Ronnie Vernooy.

Photo: R. Vernooy
Photo: R. Vernooy

 

The workshop was hosted by the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC) of the Ministry of Agricutlure and Forests of Bhutan. The national genebank of Bhutan is located at NBC. A workshop news link can found here: http://www.bbs.bt/news/?p=34226

 

Visiting the NBC. (Photo: R. Vernooy)

Visiting the NBC. (Photo: R. Vernooy)

Adapting to climate change: training workshop for teams of Bhutan and Nepal

By Pashupati Chaudhary, LI-BIRD, Nepal

Agrobiodiversity plays a pivotal role in securing food and nutrition and enhancing resilience of agriculture to climate change. As the climate is becoming more erratic and unpredictable than in the past, it has become increasingly difficult to properly manage agrobiodiversity to sustainably produce food. One of the challenges is the lack of scientific knowledge to predict climate dynamics in particular regions. Another challenge is to develop and deploy crop varieties that are adapted to changing climatic conditions. Climate Analogue Tool (CAT), a recently developed tool by partners of the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) programme is a remarkable breakthrough in tackling this problem. CAT can identify a) future climate conditions of a particular location and sites that currently resemble these conditions (b) locations that currently have or in the future will have similar climate conditions, and c) locations that in the future will have current climate conditions of a particular place. Based on careful analyses done using the Climate Analogue Tool and supported by data from actual conditions in farmers’ fields, scientists can identify possible appropriate plant genetic resources, deploy suitable varieties, and develop new varieties for specific locations of interest.

Recently, the Genetic Resources Policy Initiative 2 project, led by Bioversity International, organized a three-day long training workshop on Climate Analogue Tools in order to enhance skills of Nepal and Bhutan project staff in analyzing, interpreting and presenting climate data. 18 scientists, managers, and development professionals representing government organizations, national research programs, gene banks and non-governmental organizations of both countries participated in the training that was facilitated by Bioversity International scientists.  Continue reading