The focus of this GLF launchpad event is to highlight the critical importance of genebanks in Africa, their role in ensuring food security, and the challenges they currently face. COVID-19 has exposed how vulnerable and interconnected we are. Without international cooperation, effective safeguarding of plant genetic resources to secure the world’s food supply is simply not possible.
Genebanks are full of untapped potential in the incredible wealth of crop diversity they hold, and many are unable to live up to their promise due to an array of challenges, including being under-resourced. By making seeds available to breeders and farmers to develop and use crop varieties adapted to current and future climates, genebanks are fundamental in combatting the effects of climate change and are of critical importance for sustainable farming and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Using crop varieties that are nutrient-rich, tolerant to environmental stresses like drought and extreme heat, and are resistant to pests and diseases helps smallholder farmers to ensure their food security while putting less pressure on fragile ecosystems. And these varieties are essential factors in securing future food and nutrition across the continent.