Direct involvement in the management of collections

Breeders in many countries contribute significantly to the tasks related to the day-to-day management of national collections by providing their services directly to genebanks without any compensation in return. These activities may include several elements such as helping in setting up of collections; evaluation, characterization, documentation of PGR; maintenance of collections etc.

CIP International Potato Centre

Peru, a country that has cultivated potatoes for nearly 7,000 years, boasts on having over 4,500 varieties of the world’s favourite vegetable, the potato. This tuber comes in all shapes, colours and sizes. They aren’t just pretty to look at, but also hold up to 5 times as much vitamins, carotene, zinc and antioxidants as regular potatoes!

The remarkable traits of these native potatoes are a valuable source in developing more resilient and nutritious spuds. In fact they open up a whole new world of possibilities in fighting poverty, malnutrition and securing the world’s food supply. This is exactly what CIP International Potato Centre is striving for.

HZPC and CIP, together with national partners in Peru (Grupo Yanapai, INIA, SPDA) have started to work on a novel model to practically implement benefit sharing with custodian farmers.

The consortium of institutions wants to empower the farmers to organize and represent themselves, so they benefit maximum from a start-up fund made available by HZPC. To give this shape they helped them to initiate an association, which is now running a pilot with 43 custodian farmers. The farmers recently spend their first money on agricultural inputs, education and health care.


Contact person for more information:

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Variety evaluation

The Portuguese Plant Gene Bank is a state institution responsible for the conservation of plant genetic resources, at several levels:

-       Setting up collections of plant germplasm, by collecting or receiving copies of the materials or by the exchange of material within similar institutions.

-       Ex situ conservation (in chambers with a controlled temperature and humidity), in vitro by cryopreservation, or in a field collection.

-       In situ conservation: on farm conservation

-       Regeneration and multiplication of the genetic material, periodically. In order to have enough seeds and other propagation material available for future exchanges.

-       Profiling and evaluation of the conserved material in order to protect and acknowledge the genetic diversity and make the most of it by making it available

-       Documentation of all the information of every access since the starting point, profiling, evaluation, use exchange, until the conservation routine.

-       Exchange: Reception and distribution of the genetic material.


There are financed projects in place, between companies and INIAV, the Portuguese Institute for Agriculture and Veterinary Research, to evaluate varieties (for forage and pasture purposes) from the national plant gene bank, in order to develop new varieties which will become the property of the State and the company will be the exclusive holder of the varieties.

There is also a strong cooperation between the Lisbon Agronomy Institute and some companies, regarding the share of some vegetable varieties from the Institute’s collection.


Contact person for more information: Joana Lopes Aleixo

Germplasm Enhancement of Maize

Monsanto has provided long-standing (20 years) support to the USDA Germplasm Enhancement of Maize (GEM) program, through in-kind service in the form of approximately 2,000 yield trial plots and some nursery rows each year, and  by providing 1 to 2 elite (proprietary) lines per year for use as breeding parents. Selections from the resulting breeding populations will be made publicly available as “GEM” lines.

In term of contribution of private germplasm to the public sphere, it is also important to note that improved maize lines with expired PVP, while representing only 2% of the available material from the USDA Maize Genebank, accounted for 48% of the seed packets distributed globally in 2013, highlighting how valuable and utilized this improved germplasm has become all around the world.


Contact: Roy Cantrell


In-kind support of genebanks

For crops including cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, maize, melon, pepper, spinach, tomato and watermelon, Monsanto Company has conducted hundreds of seed increases each year for the Centre for Genetic Resources of the Netherlands (CGN), INRA (France) and the United States Department of Agriculture National Plant Germplasm System (USDA). This work, which is done at the request of a gene bank, includes growing, pollinating, collecting phenotypic data, harvesting and shipping.  For many of these crops, support has been consistently provided for over 6 years. 

In support of cotton breeding and germplasm enhancement globally, Monsanto Company provided $8,000 to Cotton Incorporated to support the CottonGen database housed at Washington State University. Financial support has been provided since 2012. In addition, Monsanto Company publicly released approximately 4,000 SSR markers, which will help cotton breeders around the world.


Contact: Roy Cantrell


Benefit sharing from Seed Companies to the World Vegetable Center

Financial support to the World Vegetable Center

The World Vegetable Center’s tomato breeding program has received financial support from I&B (previously known as Indus, Sasya) India; Kagome Co., Japan; and Heinz USA. In 1996, seed of 2 Cytoplasmatic Male Sterile peppers and their maintainer lines were donated by Choong Ang Seed Co., Korea, and Seminis provided a small amount of financial support for this research. Recently, bitter gourd breeding has received financial support from four Indian companies. Additionally, support has been received from seed companies to arrange conferences. In general, the support provided accounts for less than 1% of the Center’s annual budget.


In-kind support for breeding at the World Vegetable Center

Various in-kind contributions have been received from the seed industry. In general, the dollar value of these contributions is difficult to estimate. Among others, the following contributions have been received during the last ten years:

  • Syngenta-India hosted a tomato field trial in Karnal, India (Oct 2007) as a voluntary contribution to a World Vegetable Center-led DFID project. The trial included 53 tomato entries from 13 seed companies. Syngenta hosted a field day for researchers from our institution, the University of Agricultural Sciences-Bangalore, the Natural Resource Institute UK, and seed company breeders to review the trial.
  • Namdhari Seed Co. India hosted a tomato field trial in Bangalore, India in May 2007 as a voluntary contribution to a World Vegetable Center-led DFID project. The trial included 63 tomato entries from 20 seed companies. Namdhari hosted a field day for several thousand farmers and researchers to review the trial.
  • Sasya-India multiplied seed of four World Vegetable Center onion lines from April 2009-May 2010. The operation required two seasons to complete. Sasya also carried out seed multiplication of 7 tomato hybrids at the Center’s request.
  • Monsanto USA evaluated 15 World Vegetable Center Allium cepa x A. fistulosum onion populations for resistance to three diseases and multiplied seed in 2015.
  • JK Seeds, India voluntary evaluated 20 World Vegetable Center-selected anthracnose resistant and susceptible lines in 2014-15.
  • In 2014, VNR Seeds, India provided a success story with a hybrid cultivar, which was derived from a World Vegetable Center inbred line.


In-kind support for World Vegetable Center genebank regeneration

In-kind contributions for regeneration of priority germplasm have been received from two seed companies (Rijk Zwaan and Enza Zaden). These contributions account for about 3% of our annual regenerations, but make up less than 1% of the budget for the World Vegetable Center genebank.


In-kind contribution to disaster seed kits

In collaboration with the Center, seed companies in different locations have participated in the preparation and/or distribution of seed kits after disasters. For example: Survivors of the December 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and Sri Lanka received seed provided by 8 seed companies from 5 countries in 2005. In Taiwan in 2009-2010, seed kits were delivered to people affected by Typhoon Morakot. In 2014, East-West Seed Indonesia provided 10,000 seed kits that were distributed in East Java and North Sumatra to people affected by volcanic eruptions. However, the economic value of such contributions is difficult to estimate.  


Technical input or exchange with the World Vegetable Center

Cooperation between the Asia & Pacific Seed Association (APSA) and the World Vegetable Center benefits both organizations. For APSA members, the agreement provides early and priority access to World Vegetable Center research and development results; the chance to interact directly with World Vegetable Center staff at workshops; and preferential rates for (and in some instances, early access to) World Vegetable Center germplasm and breeding lines. For the World Vegetable Center, the main benefits come from the core funding provided; the opportunity to better align the Center's work with some of the pertinent issues identified by the private sector; and the opportunity to utilize APSA's network to disseminate the Center's international public goods. The Center ships seed from its collection at the request of any APSA member. APSA helped the Center's genebank collection expand by sharing lines with interesting horticultural characteristics. The Center encouraged all APSA members to acknowledge the use of World Vegetable Center germplasm in their catalogs. However, only a few companies have done so. Some APSA companies, i.e. Clover Seeds (Hong Kong) and Known-You Seed (Taiwan) have sent their staff to the Center for short-term training.

Kagome Japan provided protocols for three tomato molecular markers in 2014-2015 for World Vegetable Center in-house use. Sasya and Mahyco (India) contributed seed of tomato breeding lines for World Vegetable Center use. Twenty-five seed companies are participating in an ongoing World Vegetable Center-led collaborative project to evaluate a set of tomato lines representing different resistance gene combinations for resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl diseases (TYLCD) in South, Southeast, and East Asia. Participating companies established field trials in disease hotspots and evaluated TYLCD incidence and severity according to a common evaluation protocol.

Seed companies have contributed technical support by collaborating on some varietal trials in Africa.


Contact person: Svein Solberg,