The 7th Meeting of the CGIAR Germplasm Units Working Group

The 7th International Workshop of the CGIAR Germplasm Health Units (GHU) will be held at the Latin American and Caribbean headquarters of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, from April 15–19.

This workshop will bring together representatives from the 11 CGIAR centers and Alliance staff to review the GHU group's objectives and progress in phytosanitary diagnostic activities for germplasm evaluation of seed and clonal crops, the status of quality management systems, process improvement plans, cost recovery, and proposal for inter-center projects in phytopathogen diagnostics.

The Palmira campus will host this important meeting where the leaders of the germplasm health units of the following CGIAR research centers will participate: AfricaRice, Bioversity, CIAT, CIMMYT, CIP, ICARDA, ICRAF, ICRISAT, IITA, ILRI and IRRI. This is a great opportunity to gather experts in phytosanitary diagnostics, share knowledge, establish synergies and project collaborative work.

Germplasm Health Units (GHU) Overview

The international exchange of genetic resources has played a crucial role in agricultural and food diversification, but such sharing can run the risk of spreading pests and diseases. Multiple challenges have been faced in the safe distribution of germplasm. For this reason, international agricultural research centers created germplasm health laboratories to evaluate and certify that the materials to be conserved and distributed are free of pests and diseases.

The GHUs ensure phytosanitary protection for the safe conservation and global movement of materials from the 11 CGIAR genebanks and breeding programs that they acquire and distribute from around the world for agricultural research and food security; compliance with the guidelines of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for International Plant Protection; working closely with the National Plant Protection Organizations of the different countries, regional phytosanitary protection organizations and with different national and international phytosanitary protection programs.

In 2017, the GHUs aligned with the plant health component of the CGIAR Genebank Platform. Providing opportunities to: strengthen collaboration among GHUs, catalyze a harmonized CGIAR-GHU strategy, adopt a common Quality Management System to ensure uniform standards across centers, and implement initiatives to address persistent and other emerging phytosanitary challenges.

The strategic objectives of the GHUs are:

  • Verify that the transboundary movement of germplasm complies with regulatory guidelines for import and export to different countries and that materials are free of quarantine pests. 
  • Develop and adopt phytosanitary procedures to generate pest-free germplasm.
  • Develop diagnostic tools to ensure phytosanitary health of germplasm and conduct pest surveillance.
  • Conduct pest risk assessments inherent to germplasm banking activities, including conservation, seed increase and distribution.
  • Contribute to the development of phytosanitary capacity.
  • Organize a Community of Practice to form a network of centers in the prevention of transboundary pests.

Event organizers

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  • Fatimata Bachabi, AfricaRice
  • Geoffrey Onaga, AfricaRice
  • Sebastien Massart,Bioversity
  • Francois Maclot, Bioversity
  • Noemi Valencia Torres, CIMMYT
  • Benjamín  Martínez, CIMMYT
  • Jan Kreuze, CIP
  • Giovanna Müller, CIP
  • Abdulrahman Mukahal, ICARDA
  • Safaa Kumari, ICARDA
  • Sheillah Cherotich, ICRAF
  • Rajan Sharma, ICRISAT
  • Pagidi Humayun, ICRISAT
  • Lava Kumar, IITA
  • Oluwole Oguntade, IITA
  • Woubit Dawit Bedane, ILRI
  • Fikerte Mulatu Adenew, ILRI
  • Martina Castellion, IRRI
  • Sheryl Catausan, IRRI
  • Inaam El-Miziani, ICARDA
  • Julio Ramírez, CIAT
  • Alejandro Gutiérrez, CIAT
  • Diana Niño, CIAT
  • Laura González, CIAT
  • Christian Muñoz, CIAT
  • Maritza Cuervo, CIAT
  • Lucely Muñoz, CIAT
  • Fabián Dorado, CIAT
  • Paola Quintero, CIAT
  • Yenny Rengifo, CIAT
  • Angelmiro Matituy, CIAT
  • Katalina Vélez, CIAT
  • Claudia Maldonado, CIAT
  • Eliana Urquijo, CIAT
  • Jorge Evelio Angel, ICA