Ibadan, Nigeria, West Africa

Plant and animal genetic resources are the foundation for sustainable agriculture and global food security. Genetic diversity enables plants to adapt to new pests and diseases as well as to threats from climate change, drought, soil erosion, and more. Today, we are losing genetic resources at an unprecedented rate, while the world’s capacity to maintain food security decreases. Agricultural sustainability is dependent on a strong conservation component.

IITA’s conservation activities started in the mid-seventies with the establishment of a genebank. Depending on species, collections are either stored in field-, seed-, or in vitro genebanks. IITA’s genebank holds the plant material (germplasm) of major food crops of Africa. This germplasm is held in trust on behalf of humanity under the auspices of the United Nations. It is distributed without restriction for use in research for food and agriculture.