COMSTECH, in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) held a consultation Workshop for Development of a multi-national Project proposal on “Promotion of Plant Genetic Resources: Use, Varietal Development and Integration in the Seed System” on 11th of April, 2019 at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) representative office, NARC in Islamabad.
Representatives from governments from five OIC Member countries, namely Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan, Oman and Azerbaijan participated in the workshop. The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Country Representative of FAO, the Chairman PARC, the DG NARC and Adviser COMSTECH. One of the outcomes of the meeting was the offer from Pakistan to provide access to OIC countries to store up to 5000 germplasm at its own gene bank, as safety duplicates.
This activity is an expression of COMSTECH efforts to address food security, farm productivity and preservation of plant biodiversity as key priorities under OIC STI agenda 2026, through cooperation between Member States and development of human and technical capacity. Currently few of the OIC member states have the adequate facilities and manpower to address the vital concern of preserving the germ plasm and seed varieties of their exiting crop varieties and for exchanging and integrating new crop varieties into their own agricultural systems. This activity was held to find practical ways to address these needs led by the OIC countries that are more advanced in this domain. This effort was initiated during a meeting organized by COMSTECH in March 2018 where an OIC Working Group on Plant Genetic Resources was formed. After thorough deliberations and consultations between members of this group, led by PARC, a Concept Note for a project proposal has been developed in consultation with the FAO that outlines the goals, activities and required resources for these purposes.
In this expert level meeting presentations were made on the status of plan genetic resources’ preservation, development, and integration in the seed system of each participating country. The technical, human resource and legislative needs for these purposes were identified. In the 2nd session of the workshop the Concept Note for the Project prepared by FAO and PARC was shared with the participants. The main objective of the proposed project is to enhance technical capacity and performance of concerned institutions of both the public and private sectors to broaden their collaboration in plant genetic resource use and crop variety development facilitated by rapid flow of newly developed crop varieties in the seed system, to enhance farm productivity and ensuring food and nutritional security. Consensus was established on the basics of the proposed project and technical details such as costing, modes and sources of funding, and timelines were discussed in detail. The project proposal would be developed by the PARC in consultation with FAO and COMSTECH. Azerbaijan offered to host the next meeting of the Working Group later this year.