Strategic action plan on plant genetics resources formulated

By Deon Schlechter

Windhoek

After two years of intensive review and information-gathering from 2014, various stakeholders in the agricultural and environmental sectors have been engaged in developing a strategy and implementation plan known as the Namibian National Strategic Action Plan (NNSAP).
Under the guidance of a technical committee, and through exhaustive consultations, the stakeholders came with the NNSAP to provide a foundation for immediate and medium term investment, in the long-term conservation and use of plant genetics resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) in Namibia. Namibia is proud of being one of the first African countries to develop a strategic action plan for the conservation and use of her Plant Genetic Resource for Food and Agriculture.
Some of the key elements in the plan are: the identification of the PGRFA to be conserved and their relation to food security; understanding the vulnerability of these resources to drought and climate change; recognition of the stakeholders involved, their roles in PGRFA conservation and their capacities; identification of policies, norms, standards, and incentives motivating behaviour in relation to PGRFA use and conservation; and definition of the barriers to effective conservation of PGRFA.
This overall goal of the NNSAP will be achieved by encouraging and supporting enhanced breeding activities in response to farmers’ needs, developing and enhancing sustainable capacity in plant breeding – including plant breeding in syllabi of existing and emerging courses at tertiary education institutions in Namibia. Further to also improve the use of germplasm material currently conserved at the NPGRC, and incorporating the needs of future breeding programmes to address climate change adaptation, including drought-tolerance, into national PGRFA collecting initiatives.
This plan will be valid for the next ten years. Its implementation will be coordinated by MAWF, with support from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the competent authority for climate change and biodiversity activities in Namibia. Its strategic objectives are aligned to Namibia’s National Climate Change Policy and Strategy and Action Plan, the 2nd National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, the 4th National Development Plan and various other relevant policies and plans. Every effort will be made to mainstream these objectives into future national planning initiatives.



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