ICRISAT-Zimbabwe Regional Genebank: Conserving and maintaining germplasm for today and future generation

ICRISAT-Zimbabwe Genebank is a regional genebank established by ICRISAT in 1984 is situated at Matopos Research Station 30km from Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, the ICRISAT-Zimbabwe Regional Genebank serves as a bio-reservoir for 6 crops, including the ICRISAT mandate crops, namely sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut and finger millet; which are best suited for semi-arid cropping systems in Southern Africa, thereby enhancing resilience to the detrimental effects of climate change. Its main purpose is to preserve plant genetic material that can be used to enhance crop breeding and production systems with the sole aim of improving the health and livelihoods of the farmers who remain the institution’s focal point. The use of plants genetic diversity is essential for ensuring an adequate and stable supply of diverse food crops as well as for enhancing their nutritional quality.

The ICRISAT-Zimbabwe Regional Genebank aims to:

  1. Conserve plant genetic material for crop variety preservation for Southern Africa, thereby intensifying research and crop improvement.

  2. Cater for farmers’ preferences through preservation and easy dissemination of preferred materials.

  3. Promote seed health and crop production through the distribution of healthy and highly vigorous seed.

  4. Amplify resilience by enhancing small grain seed systems in order to mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change.

  5. Combat malnutrition through the promotion of healthy, nutrient-dense small grains.

  6. Support training of NARS, students and other seed value chain actors.

  7. Enhance germplasm utilization by research institutions, private companies and individual farmers.

The Regional genebank is currently (June 2018) conserving 8,189 germplasm accessions, among which of Sorghum (2,584), Pearl millet (3,296), Finger millet (2,068) and Chickpea (241).

The collection in medium term storage is stored in aluminium cans at a temperature range of 0-5°C and relative humidity of not more that 30%, and is available for distribution to both the private and public sectors, farmers, institutions and any other organization upon request. A total of 4,661 accessions have been distributed to various institutions since 2004, and the doors remain open for more distributions.

Gapare Brighton

Gapare Brighton

Genebank Research Associate
Conrad Murendo

Dr. Conrad Murendo

Special Project Scientist

Mandate crops

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