The ICRISAT Genebank serves as a world repository for the collection of germplasm of the six mandate crops: sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, finger millet; and five small millets: foxtail millet, little millet, kodo millet, proso millet and barnyard millet. With 128,979 germplasm accessions assembled from 144 countries through donations and collection missions, it is one of the largest international genebanks.

ICRISAT established regional genebanks at Nairobi, Bulawayo and Niamey to facilitate easy access of regional and global diversity to NARS partners in the region. Together the three regional genebanks conserve 43,353 accessions of mandate crops. Currently Bulawayo and Niamey Genebanks are active. Several landraces now conserved in the ICRISAT genebanks have disappeared from their natural habitats in Africa and Asia. The collection serves both as insurance against genetic erosion and a sources of tolerance to diseases and pests, environmental stresses, higher nutritional quality and traits related to yield for crop improvement.

The majority of collection have been placed in-trust with the FAO of the United Nations and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) for use by the global community as International Public Good (IPG). Majority of the collection is seed producing and essentially orthodox in nature. Seed conservation has vital role in preservation of genetic variability as it is easy to maintain and cost-effective. The conserved germplasm has been characterized for important morpho-agronomic characteristics.

The active collection of germplasm stored at 4°C and 30% RH, is basic source for distribution and utilization. The base collection is maintained at -20°C in vacuum packed aluminium foil pouches at 3-7% seed moisture content. Base collections ensure long-term viability of material (more than 50 years) as a security to the active collection. In addition, ICRISAT Genebank has deposited over 117,700 accessions at Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV), Norway as safety backup. The SGSV provides an insurance against the loss of seeds in genebanks, as well as a refuge for seeds in the case of large scale regional or global crisis.

Germplasm conserved at ICRISAT genebank has become an important source of diversity available to researchers in both public and private sectors throughout the world. For example, between the years 1975 and 2021 (Oct). ICRISAT genebank has distributed over 809,450 samples of its mandate crops and small millets to users in 148 countries in addition to over 714,300 samples to scientists within the institute. The collections held at the genebank are also serving the purpose of restoration of germplasm to the source countries when national collections are lost due to natural calamities, civil strife, etc. ICRISAT genebank has restored over 55,000 accessions to nine national programs in Asia and Africa. ICRISAT genebank has promoted testing and release of 104 accessions directly as 137 superior varieties in 51 countries and 1019 varieties were released in 81 countries utilizing germplasm and breeding lines from ICRISAT contributing to food security.

Dr. Kuldeep Singh

Dr. Kuldeep Singh

Head, Genebank (Consultant)
Dr. Mani Vetriventhan

Dr. Mani Vetriventhan

Sr. Scientist (Genetic Resources)
Ramachandran Senthil

Mr. Senthil Ramachandran

Manager (Germplasm Conservation)
Peerzada Ovais

Dr. Ovais H Peerzada

Manager (Seed Laboratory)
Muzamil Baig

Mr. Muzamil Baig

Manager (Quality)

Mandate crops



Pearl millet








Small millets

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