Untapped Potential: The Importance of African Genebanks in Ensuring Food Security across the Continent

24 Jun 2021

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 hold immense potential in the incredible wealth of crop diversity they hold, but this has largely gone untapped due to an array of challenges, including limited resources. By making seeds available, and allowing breeders and farmers to develop and use crop varieties that are adapted to current and future climates, genebanks can play a fundamental role in combatting the effects of climate change and sustaining the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Using crop varieties that are nutrient-rich, tolerant to environmental stresses like drought and extreme heat, and resistant to pests and diseases helps smallholder farmers to achieve food security while putting less pressure on fragile ecosystems. It will also prove pivotal in securing future food and nutrition across the continent at large.

Publisher: Global Landscapes Forum (GLF)

Language: English

Year: 2021

Keyword(s): Africa, agriculture, climate change, crops, farmers, food security, genebanks, livelihoods, livestock, smallholders

Ecosystem(s): Drylands and Rangelands

Location(s): Africa

  • Crop Trust


  • Stefan Schmitz

    Executive Director, The Global Crop Diversity Trust

  • Éliane Ubalijoro

    Executive Board Member, The Global Crop Diversity Trust

  • Damaris Achieng Odeny

    Global Cluster Leader, Genomics, Pre-breeding and Bioinformatics, ICRISAT

  • Susan Bragdon

    Policy Advisor, Oxfam Novib

  • Tony Simons

    Director General, World Agroforestry (ICRAF) , Executive Director, CIFOR-ICRAF

  • Agnes Kalibata

    President, UN Special Envoy, The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), 2021 Food Systems Summit