Sustainable use of PGR and facilitated access

The continuous creation of new varieties with new combinations of genes that are more resistant to diseases and pests, that are adapted to special needs of producers and consumers, that are adapted to the climate and that produce more is an important contribution to diversity and a basis for further crop improvement.

Through the breeders’ exemption, varieties are directly freely available to anybody who would like to do further breeding. This stimulates innovation and allows all breeders, be it from big or small companies, farmers, developed or developing countries, to continue development.

German-Ethiopian Seed Co-operation Project

Back in 2012, a co-operation between Germany and Ethiopia has been launched to improve the supply in seeds for local farmers and thereby also yields. The project has been planned for 15 years and is designed to address the following issues: sustainable use of plant genetic resources, practical plant breeding and supply of seeds of locally adapted, high-yielding autochthonous plant varieties for domestic Ethiopian demand. The project involves the education and continued training of Ethiopian plant breeders and farmers as well as the support of regional plant breeding projects.

In a first phase, the aim is to step up the abilities of public breeding organizations to breed high-performing locally adapted plant varieties. Furthermore, farmers will be trained for seed multiplication in order to improve the economic relations with individual farms. The farmers will be qualified for producing certified seed by yearly training courses.

In addition, a close co-operation has been established between the German gene bank, the Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Research (IPK) in Gatersleben and the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute. This project module provides training for the Ethiopian gene bank staff in issues of preservation, characterization and evaluation of plant genetic resources to improve the usability of the plant genetic resources.

The cooperation project is co-financed by the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture as well as all member companies of GFP. In Ethiopia, the co-operation project is supervised by staff of the German Society for International Co-operation (GIZ).


Contact for more information:

Mike Bartels

Project Manager Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Hisham Complex (5th floor),

Kazanchis Area

P.O. Box 12631

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Phone: +251 115 516 313

Mobile: +251 911 202 642

Fax: +251 115 506 006



Breeders’ cooperation in research projects

An important contribution of the Czech breeding industry to evaluation and effective use of genetic resources is breeders’ cooperation in research projects focused on the evaluation of collections (search for new sources of genetic diversity, selection and evaluation of major donors of valuable characters, genetic characterization using DNA and protein markers, creating pre-breeding materials, creation of "core" collection, introduction and validation of new and neglected crops and others).

These projects implemented under the support of the national science foundations or Ministry of Education have contributed significantly to the understanding of genetic diversity in collections and have increased their value to users.

Participation of breeding sites has allowed the implementation of such projects and in many cases led to the effective use of genetic resources in plant breeding.


Contact person for more information: Vojtěch Holubec


New breeding strategies for quinoa in Peru

Peru is a diverse country: tropical climate prevails in the Eastern rain forests (“Selva”) while there is a dry desert climate in the West and in the coastal regions (“Costa”). The central Andes (“Sierra”) and the Andean plateau (“Altiplano”) are moderate to cold zones. This diversity is reflected in the agricultural systems. Peruvian smallholder farmers in all parts of the country are cultivating a multitude of maize and quinoa varieties. This biodiversity is at risk, due to increasingly extreme climate events and migration of young people to the cities, leading also to loss of the traditional knowledge concerning cultivation, use and preservation of the cultivated plants. The results: there is a chronic shortage of food especially in remote regions. A total of eight million Peruvians live below the poverty line, which is equivalent to almost 30 percent of about 30 million Peruvians.

The Capacity Building Initiative of KWS in Peru consists of various projects, completely financed by KWS, which in the long term are supposed to help improving the food security of Peruvian smallholder farmers.

One of the projects is focusing on new breeding strategies for quinoa. Quinoa is an annual, very nutritious grain crop that has been domesticated in the Andes about 4,000 years ago. The target of this project is to develop strategies for improved breeding. For this purpose, genetic variations and gains from the selection in crosses of different parental quinoa materials are studied. At the same time, the project tries to preserve the genetic resources of quinoa and to make it usable for a sustainable agriculture. Project partners include the National University of the Altiplano (UNAP, Puno) and Hohenheim University (UH). A Peruvian PhD student is involved in the project, being trained in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Karl Schmid (UH).

Contact persons for more information: Paul Olson:, Walter Schmidt:  

Websites: Capacity Development initiative: Peru project details: