Training course on Plant Genetic Resources Management held in Lusaka

Group photo taken during the course

The Southern Africa Network for Biosciences, in partnership with the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC) and with support from the BioFISA II Programme, is hosting a training course on Plant Genetic Resources Management in Lusaka, Zambia, from 7-12 August 2017.

The purpose of the training course is to improve knowledge, understanding and skills in the general conservation and management of plant genetic resources in 15 countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region, namely: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The delegates attending the course comprise technical officers working in the national genebanks: the technical staff for the national genebanks; particularly new comers, are faced with specialized equipment and require a good understanding of genebanking standards that are conforming to the global specialized technologies for the maintenance of viable material in genebanks.

During the first day’s opening ceremony, Mr Godfrey Mwila (Principal Agriculture Research Officer) emphasised the importance of networking and learning from each other. The head of SPGRC, Mr Justify Shava, also encouraged the technical officers to involve students when conducting research, as such collaboration would benefit both the students and the institutions conserving the plant genetic resources in the region. Moreover, the BioFISA II Programme Manager, Ms Zvikomborero Tangawamira, emphasised the importance of collaboration in addressing regional challenges and encouraged the participants to exchange knowledge and use this training to learn from each other.

This workshop is an example of efforts by SANBio and BioFISA II to support and strengthen regional biosciences research and development in the SADC region. Moreover, through this support, the regional delegates will be able to more efficiently use international best practices in collecting, handling and conserving plant genetic resources materials in the region, in line with the global conservation standards as provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.