Bridging agriculture and environment: Southern African crop wild relative regional network

Start and end date: April 2019 to March 2022

Geographic area: Southern Africa region

Funders: Supported by Darwin Initiative and funded by DEFRA (UK Government).

Total Budget : GBP 477,003

Valuable traits within crop wild relatives (CWR) are needed to enhance present and future food security for 130 million poor people in southern Africa. Yet CWR are poorly conserved, threatened, barely accessible to breeders, and generate few benefits for farmers. The project aims to establish strategic partnerships/networks of protected areas for CWR conservation and use; design mechanisms to enhance the benefits farmers from conserving CWR; increase access to germplasm, and build gendered capacity, underpinning southern-African food security and poverty reduction.

Update on progress:  A white paper on the establishment of Regional CWR network has been submitted and endorsed by the SADC secretariat for endorsement by SADC council of ministers. The national partners (Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia) have established a multi-stakeholder committee to provide guidance on the development of their respective National Strategy and Action Plans and have identified specific areas for establishment of genetic reserves for in situ conservation of CWR. . Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the project has undertaken an online training programme for training countries in the SADC region on conservation planning for in situ conservation of CWR.