New ICARDA Morocco Genebank Set to Open
16 May 2022
On May 18th, 2022, the new International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) Morocco genebank is set to officially open in Rabat, Morocco.
This state-of-the-art facility safely stores one of the world's most unique and extensive collections of wheat, barley, chickpea, faba bean, lentil, and forage genetic material, providing the 'building blocks' that global researchers and breeding programs need to develop high-yielding, resilient, and climate-adapted crops and domestic alternatives to the widely imported staple crops under pressure today.
The ICARDA genebanks in Morocco and Lebanon are strategically located to research important regional wild species and crop ancestors (wild relatives) in their natural habitat.
Many locally collected species already thrive in harsh conditions, and their hardy traits offer the world much in the way of adaptability to climate change for future crops.
The new genebank has been designed with cold rooms large enough to conserve ICARDA's entire genetic resource collection—including many species threatened in the wild—for up to 100 years before regeneration. It also includes new, cutting-edge technology that allows for research on species within strictly controlled environmental conditions, essential to identifying useful traits in crops for climate adaptation.