Providing advice on conservation and sustainable use of PGRs

It is very common that private breeders participate in the work of national advisory committees on issues concerning plant genetic resources (PGR). In this way they can directly share their expertise and provide their input to responsible authorities in important policy decisions related to PGR. Examples of such direct participation and sharing of expertise exist in several countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, France, UK, Hungary – just to give the most prominent examples.

Plant Gene Bank Council

Representatives of Hungarian breeders are members of crop specific Committees (field plants, vegetables, fruit plants, grapes, forest trees, medicinal and aromatic plants, ornamental plants and microorganisms) of the Plant Gene Bank Council (PGBC). PGBC is an advisory body operating under the Ministry of Rural Development. PGBC had to be established to fulfil the following tasks:

- standardization of methods used in gene banks,
- identification of the genetic resources to be conserved,
- decision on special scientific issues concerning the collections,
- opinion-forming on laws, research funding programmes, national action plans concerning plant genetic resources


Contact person for more information: Gábor Polgár (Hungarian Seed Association)


German Gene Bank Commission

German breeders participate in the Gene Bank Commission which is an advisory body for issues concerning plant genetic resources (PGR) in Germany. As such, its activities include the following:

- co-operation in the merger of German gene banks

- drafting of opinions on national or regional research funding programs

- opinion-forming on international and national PGR action plans as well as on database programs

- giving opinions on the preservation and use of genotypes in gene banks (e.g. on transition periods after variety reference samples were transferred to the gene bank by the CPVO after expiry of variety protection)


Contact person for more information:


Policy Advice CGN

For the development of national policies on ABS, Plantum NL, the Dutch association of plant breeders, participates in meetings, workshops, etc.

Plantum NL sits on the advisory board of the Dutch gene bank - Centre for Genetic Resources, The Netherlands (CGN) - advising on the following issues:

- vision and policy of CGN;

- implications of international rules and legislation on policy and exchange of genetic resources from CGN;

- plan and follow-up the activities of CGN - e.g. to maintain, expand and describe ex situ collections, to develop in situ activities in order to develop capacity building projects - and provide input where necessary.


Contact person for more information:


Czech Board on PGR

Representatives of breeders are members of the Czech Board on PGR, which is the coordinating and advisory body of the Czech National Program on PGR Conservation and Utilization. In this way they can influence the activities of the National Program and pay attention to user oriented approach of the projects. The representatives of breeders have also influence on the creation of special core-collections that are determined for more optimal use of genetic resources for different breeding aims. The chairman of the Board is also the national co-ordinator of the PGR in The Crop Research Institute (CRI). CRI coordinates the national programme on the conservation of the plant genetic resources.


Contact person for more information: Vojtěch Holubec

UK Plant Genetic Resources Group

BSPB, the British Society of Plant Breeders, is a member of the UK Plant Genetic Resources Group (UKPGRG). This Group serves as the technical forum to discuss and implement the conservation and use of plant genetic resources in the UK.

The broad membership includes both curators of ex situ plant genetic resource centres, those involved in in situ conservation, and representatives from non-governmental organisation, the commercial plant breeding sector (BSPB executive plus currently representatives from three commercial breeding companies) and Universities. Botanic gardens, the Forestry Commission and statutory collections are also represented.

The Group provides advice and technical support to Government Departments on technical and policy matters which relate to the UK or the UK's international role in the area of plant genetic resources.


Contact person for more information: Dr Nigel Maxted (Chairman UKPGRG) - (+44) 121 414 5571 |


Italian National Plan for Agricultural Biodiversity

Via a representative, the Italian seed sector was involved in the work which lead to the elaboration and adoption of the Italian National Plan for Agricultural Biodiversity in 2012 by the Italian Ministry of agriculture.

Also, the Italian seed association, Assosementi, is participating in the working groups under the Ministry of agriculture responsible for the implementation in Italy of the EU Directives on conservation varieties.


Contact person for more information:



A local company, Agrovegetal, active in the region of Andalusia, is directly involved in the PGRFA Committee of the region which discusses PGRFA policy for the region.


Contact person for more information: Ignacio Solís (Technical Director of Agrovegetal)



Several members of the French seed association (UFS) are participating in the work of the conservation networks for several crops such as maize, rapeseed, sunflower, carrots etc.

Such work includes, among others, sharing expertise, providing advice, defining rules, drafting guidelines.


Contact person for more information:


Partnership for research in biodiversity

Rijk Zwaan, a Dutch vegetable breeding company, and Naturalis Biodiversity Center, a Dutch foundation active as a national museum, academic research institute and cultural heritage institution (, have formed a unique partnership to conduct research into biological material. The ultimate goal is to exchange knowledge and collections and make use of each others' networks.