Federal Office for Agriculture and Food

Optimize the cooperative use of genetic diversity in plant breeding in Europe

From June 7 to June 9, the European Cooperative Programme for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR) held a Workshop in Bonn. Successful cooperation projects of public-private partnership between gene banks, public and private research institutions and plant breeders were presented.

48 participants from 18 European countries discussed possibilities to improve and optimize, cooperation throughout Europe, in order to provide better access and to further enhance the use of genetic diversity in plant breeding. The Workshop was technically supported by the BLE while the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) provided the necessary financial means.

Participants discussed a proposal on a Europe-wide cooperation, drafted by the BLE. The representatives of both the private and the public institutions welcomed the proposal. They recognised the benefits of a European evaluation programme. The ECPGR secretariat was commissioned to elaborate further steps towards setting up a consortium.

Within the ECPGR over 40 European countries work together to improve the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for agriculture and food.

Background

Agriculture is crucial to meet the challenges of feeding a growing world population and adapting to climate change. Innovations in agriculture are constantly needed, to contribute to the global Sustainable Development Goals, SDG). Plant breeding is an important motor of innovation for a sustainable agricultural production, as it continuously provides both highly productive and resilient plant varieties.

In that context, the use of genetic diversity is crucial. Plant breeding is a long-term and costly process, with tens of thousands of genetic lines that are often interbred to achieve the best results possible. Public and private plant breeders already cooperate at various levels.

Date of issue: 2017.06.30