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 Zimbabwe National Plant Genetic Resources Centre

 

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Background

Arex logo The Genebank of Zimbabwe (GBZ), also known as the National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (NPGRC) is a center for research and conservation of plant genetic resources in Zimbabwe. The NPGRC is under the auspices of the National Plant Genetic Resources Committee (NPGRCom.), a board that coordinates and oversees the promotion of activities associated with plant genetic resources in the country.

 

Objectives
The main objective or mandate of the GBZ is to carry out activities that are aimed at promoting the conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Specific objectives include:

  • To undertake collection missions for indigenous plant genetic resources important for food and agriculture;
  • To document indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) on plant genetic resources important for food and agriculture
  • To multiply and regenerate plant genetic resources;
  • To characterize and evaluate plant genetic resources;
  • To undertake awareness campaigns and farmer trainings on the value of plant genetic resources conservation and sustainable utilisation;
  • To conserve germplasm in the National ex-situ genebank;
  • To undertake on-farm/in-situ research and promote onfarm conservation;
  • To facilitate dissemination of information and the distribution of material for different utilisation purposes.

 

Activities


Collaboration

Collaboration with other institutions is largely based on the implementation of national programmes on plant genetic resources important for food and agriculture. Some of the institutional arrangements involved the following:
  • Collaboration with Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT) on the implementation of the project on Evaluation of best practices for landrace conservation: farmer evaluation in Tsholotsho and Murehwa Districts, Bioversity SSA as the regional coordinator, and GEF-UNDP as the financing organizations;
  • Collaboration with Bioversity Rome on the project Role of Community Seed Bank in securing diversity on farm- experiences from Zimbabwe on research matters and funding mechanism;
  • Collaboration with ICRAF and University of Zimbabwe, Tropical Resource Ecology Unit on the project Evaluation of best practices for indigenous fruit trees conservation in Murehwa District;
  • Collaboration with CIMMYT on Morphological and Molecular Characterisation of maize landraces in Zimbabwe.

 

Achievements003

  • Facilitated the ratification of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) on 24th March 2004;
  • Public awareness campaigns inform of both radio and Television programmes on agrobiodiversity conservation organized under the National Biodiversity Forum;
  • Contributed to a number of publications.

 

Currently Runnings Projects

  • Evaluation of best practices for landrace conservation: farmer evaluation in Tsholotsho and Murehwa Districts;
  • Evaluation of best practices for vegetatively propagated plants conservation on farm in Makoni District;
  • Role of Community Seed Bank in securing diversity on farm- experiences from Zimbabwe;
  • Evaluation of best practices for indigenous fruit trees conservation in Murehwa District;
  • Multiplication and Morphological Characterisation of maize landraces.

 

 

 

 

 


Material


Collections

Collects

Representative seed samples of indigenous species of importance in food and agriculture in Zimbabwe are collected from farmers, genetic reserves or any other donor. The collection exercises also target populations of introduced species that have been in Zimbabwe long enough to have developed unique adaptive features. High priority for germplasm collection is accorded to species under immediate threat.

 

Most collected germplasm has been conserved ex-situ in the Genebank. Ex-situ conservation is the conservation of germplasm outside the original or natural habitat. This involves collection, processing and storage of plant germplasm in the Genebank, usually in the form of seeds in tightly sealed containers at controlled temperature and humidity.

 

Seed storage is the most convenient way of maintaining plant germplasm in terms of static conservation. This activity aims at averting genetic erosion and making genetic material readily available for use by researchers, plant breeders and farmers.


Multiplication025

 

If the seed collected from the farmers is below the GBZ desired quantities, the final seed sample is planted out in suit able environmental conditions. The desired quantities of seed obtained is then harvested, processed and stored for use in research.

 

Although seed maintained at the GBZ under long-term conditions is expected to be viable for a long period of time, it still has limited life span. At intervals of 5-10 years, the accessions are regenerated by testing for viability using germinatio tests. If the seed viability goes below the accepted standards of 85%, then seeds from this particular accession are planted out to obtain higher percentage of viable seeds. Maximum care is taken during these multiplication and regeneration processes to ensure that the sample maintain its genetic integrity and identity.


Characterisation

 

A wide array of traditional crop varieties grown by and collected from farmers, private, non-governmental and governmental organizations throughout Zimbabwe is represented in the GBZ. In order to distinguish between lines and to give further phenotypic identity to each variety, samples are planted out and the agronomic and morpho-physiological characters recorded. These include such attributes as plant height, grain colour and size; shape of leaves and so on.
 
This is important to keep a descriptive identity for each sample stored in the GBZ apart from its data where it was collected. The gathered information on characteristics of crop varieties that are important for adaptation and production, such as yield potential, stress tolerance and pest and disease resistance is made available for use by researchers and breeders. This evaluation of the material adds value to the accessions and provide a basis for the decision on whether to use an accession or not in a breeding or crop development programme.

 

Documentation

This activity aims to register all the necessary data of all the accessions at the GBZ into the SDIS database, their conservation status, geographical distribution, usage and the indigenous knowledge associated with them. It also seeks to promote public awareness of the importance of conserving genetic resources and their sustainable utilization. So far the number of accessions entered electronically amounts to 3 064.

Publications

 

1. Mujaju, C., Rusike, E. and Zinhanga, F. (2003). Community Seed Banks For Semi-arid Agriculture in Zimbabwe. In: CIP-UPWARD 2003. Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agricultural Biodiversity: A sourcebook. International Potato Center-UsersÂ’ Perspectives With Agricultural Research and Development, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines. Volume 2: Paper 38 (294-301).

 

2. Rusike, E., Mujaju, C., Mafa, A. and Zinhanga, F. (2003). Increased Seed Diversity Through Community Seed Fairs in Zimbabwe. In: CIP-UPWARD 2003. Conservation and Sustainable Use of Agricultural Biodiversity: A sourcebook. International Potato Center-UsersÂ’ Perspectives With Agricultural Research and Development, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines. Volume 2: Paper 35 (277-283).

 

3. Mujaju, C. (2002). Development of Strategies for in situ conservation of plant genetic resources in semi-arid areas. Post Harvest Bulletin 2(3): 10-13.


Distribution of Material

Distribution of material to other institutes followed the requests of farmers and researchers.The organizations receiving materials have been largely universities and community based organizations.

 

Organisation

 

National Plant Genetic Resources Committee (NPGRCom)

 

Mrs D. Hikwa

Chairperson

Acting Director, DAR4D, Crops

Mr B. Makodza

Vice Chairperson

Director, DLPD-AGRITEX

Mr A. Mafa

Exec. Member

National Biotechnology Authority

Mr P. Kasasa

Member

CTDT

Dr D. Garwe

Member

Tobacco Research Board

Dr E. Nengomasha

Member

Director, DAR4D, Animals

Mr C. Musvosvi

Member

University of Zimbawe

Mr C. Mujaju

Member

Seed Services

Mr G. Manokore

Member

Zimbabwe Farmers' Union

Mr T. Kamunhukamwe

Member

SIRDC: Biotech. Research Inst.

Mr D. Mangemba

Member


Ms N. Nobanda

Member


Mr K. Kwazira

Member


Mr C. B. Richards

Member


Mr K. Kusena

Secretary

Curator, GR & Biotech

 

Staff

 

Mr K. Kusena Curator

Mrs R. Musango

Research Technician

Mr O. Chipfunde

Research Officer

Mr D. M. Mutigwa

Research Officer

Ms C. Boba

Secretary

Miss M. Chiwire

General Hand

Mr P. Kucheva

General Hand

 


 

 

Contacts

NPGRC of Zimbabwe
P O Box CY 550, Causeway,
HARARE Zimbabwe
Tel: 263 4 702519, Fax: 263 4 731133
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Curator - Mr Kudzai Kusena)