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