International nurseries for crop improvement

October 15, 2010 at 9:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

International nurseries – laying the foundation for crop improvement

ICARDA’s work helps develop international public goods, for use by researchers worldwide. One example is the Center’s International Nurseries Program, which coordinates the distribution of improved germplasm. ICARDA responds to national requests for germplasm of various types, including crossing blocks, segregating populations and elite breeding lines, for evaluation by national researchers in their own countries. These nurseries provide national breeding programs with the raw material to develop and release new varieties.

This season, ICARDA distributed 71 nurseries – involving seven crops and almost 2000 sets of germplasm – to 152 partner organizations in 54 countries. Multiple departments worked closely together: constituting the nurseries, developing experimental designs, preparing field books and other documentation, testing for diseases and insect pests, seed fumigation, and finally, packing and dispatch. The amount of work is huge, but so are the potential returns, in terms of improved varieties, higher yields and better food security for millions of smallholder households.

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