Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa face the combined challenges of climate change, malnutrition and a growing population. The Crop Trust leads Seeds4Resilience, a project supporting five national genebanks in Africa to conserve and share their seed collections with both farmers and scientists to improve food security in the region.
About the Project
Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are facing the combined challenges of climate change, malnutrition and a rising population. Seeds4Resilience works with national genebanks in the region to conserve and share their collections of key crops such as sorghum, millets and cowpea, to help drive more resilient and diversified food production.
Seeds4Resilience initiated activities in 2019 and is working with the national genebanks of Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana. The five-year project is funded by the Federal Government of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW).
These five national genebanks conserve thousands of important plant samples that farmers could directly use and could help scientists develop more resilient, productive and nutritious crops. But for years they have braved challenges including insufficient staffing and low levels of funding, which have put their seed collections at risk.
The project aims to ensure that some of Africa’s most important national genebanks conserve in the long term their seed collection and can provide seeds – the raw materials for crop innovation – to scientists and farmers. This can supercharge crop improvement efforts and result in positive ripple effects for farmers.
Seeds4Resilience builds on the expertise and knowledge that the Crop Trust has gained while working with international genebanks. It provides the financial and technical support for these national genebanks so they can reach international genebank standards and ensure their collections are both safe and available over the long term.
The project will upgrade genebank equipment, improve internal processes, and increase the technical capacity of staff. It will also ensure the work of each genebank is user-driven, meaning seed samples useful to farmers and scientists will be prioritized.