Southern African crop wild relative regional network

  • 19th August 2019
  • by secretary

5–8 August 2019. Johannesburg, South Africa. 29 participants from 16 countries of the Southern Africa region and international research organizations launched the project ‘Bridging agriculture and environment: Southern African crop wild relative regional network’. A collaborative endeavour led by Bioversity International and involving five partners (University of Birmingham, SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC), Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia), the project will benefit all the countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region.

From left to right: Dr Lefulesele Lebesa, Department
of Agricultural Research of Lesotho and chair
of SPGRC board, is the project Steering Committee chair.
Dr Chikelu Mba, FAO, is the Steering Committee deputy chair.
Credit: Bioversity International/I. Drouault

The Southern African region hosts a rich diversity of crop wild relatives, with over 1,900 species that are cultivated for food, beverage, forage, fodder, forestry, ornamental, medicinal, environmental and other uses. These species related to crops are vital for the food security and lives of 130 million poor people in the region. Yet, crop wild relatives are threatened, poorly conserved and barely accessible to breeders and farmers who should benefit from their use.