ICRISAT Regional Genebank: Conserving and managing germplasm in WCA for today and future generations

ICRISAT-Niger Genebank is a regional genebank established by ICRISAT in 1991 to serve the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) in West and Central Africa (WCA) region by facilitating easy access to germplasm diversity and conservation of their collections as duplicates. The use of plants genetic diversity is essential for ensuring an adequate and stable supply of diverse food crops as well as for enhancing their nutritional quality.

The ICRISAT-Niger Regional Genebank aims to:

  1. Preserve (ex-situ) germplasms collected in West and Central Africa (WCA) and from other Genebanks

  2. Assemble and conserve under medium and long terms conditions duplicates of existing materials from NARS in WCA

  3. Disseminate healthy germplasms and improved varieties

  4. Enhance germplasm utilization by research institutions, seed companies and individual farmers

  5. Support training of NARS, students and other seed value chain actors

  6. Support the establishment of seed programs and seed industry in WCA

The Regional Genebank, located at ICRISAT Niger research station in Sadore (45 km from Niamey), is currently (June 2023) conserving 50,569 accessions of 51 species which include 46,178 accessions of 4 ICRISAT Mandate crops (Millets: 22,487 accessions; Groundnut: 10,763 accessions; Sorghum: 12,654 accessions and Pigeonpea: 274 accessions) and 4,391 accessions of other crops (Cowpea, Rice, Wheat, Maize, Sesame, Okra, Onion, Bambara Groundnut, etc). Accessions conserved in Niamey regional genebank are originated from 45 African countries and other non-African countries.

The active collection of germplasm is stored at 2oCas Medium Term Storage (MTS) while the base collection is maintained in deep freezers at -20oC as Long Term Storage (LTS). The MTS room has a capacity of more than 45,000 accessions and the LTS capacity is 100, 000 accessions. In last five years (2016 to 2022), 14,336 of seed samples of Pearl millet, Sorghum, Groundnut and Pigeonpea were distributed to users including farmers/farmers organizations, NARS, Universities, CGIAR scientists, etc.
In addition to conservation facilities (MTS, LTS), the Regional Genebank has, among others, a fabric cage and large fields for regeneration and characterization trials, a crop area, a Short term (ST) transit room, a drying room and well-equipped laboratory for seed processing.

Hamidou Falalou

Pr Hamidou Falalou,

Senior Scientist,
     Genebank and Crop Physiology

Mandate crops

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