Training on Contemporary approaches to plant genetic resources, conservation and use

The Netherlands, 2 – 28 June 2008

Focus of the training programme
Biodiversity in agricultural systems is under pressure worldwide. The loss of plant genetic resources by its declining use in modern agriculture has generated much concern about the future vulnerability of agricultural production and related pest and disease risks, food security and environmental stability. Various international conventions have addressed this topic; this has moved the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources issue to the top of the international development agenda.

Aims and Objectives
The overall objective of the training programme is to enhance participants’ capabilities to deal with the management of plant genetic resources activities and programmes. In addition, relevant policies regarding genetic resources will receive special attention. The course programme aims for participants and facilitators to exchange experiences and to enhance understanding of effective approaches towards the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources in agriculture.

Training methods
The courses provide the opportunity to learn from the broad range of international experience that is represented not only by our trainers, but also by other participants. Working in a job-orientated, interactive and experience-based setting, we facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience through a variety of formats: lectures, case studies, group discussions and assignments, and field study. The courses conclude with the development of proposals which integrate all course topics and relate them to the reality of the participants’ working situations.

Fellowships and Application
A limited number of fellowships are available from the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) for nationals of certain countries. NFP-candidates must FIRST apply to Wageningen International for admission to the training. The deadline for application with NFP is 1 February 2008. Acceptable candidates will receive a PROVISIONAL LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE from Wageningen International. Candidates can then apply for a NFP fellowship through the Netherlands Embassy or Consulate in their own country.
Please note that NFP fellowships are only available for the full four-week training programme.

The admission deadline for application directly to Wageningen International, with funding other than a NFP fellowship, is 2 May 2008. Application Form

Who can participate?
The training programme is designed for project co-ordinators, senior staff, managers, trainers, programme leaders and other professionals who aim to promote the conservation and use of genetic resources for agriculture from policy, research, education or development perspectives. Participants are employed by research institutes, public/private seed companies, universities, NGOs or other organisations with an agricultural development orientation. Applicants should have at least a BSc or the equivalent in training and experience. They should have at least three years of professional experience in a relevant field and be proficient in English.

Four two-week courses are offered in parallel sessions; see the programme schedule and a brief description of each individual course below. Each two-week course provides independent and comprehensive training. Based on professional interests and institutional needs, participants can combine two courses into a programme. See our website for more information.

Adaptive genetic resources management 2 – 13 June 2008
How can participatory approaches and adaptive management strengthen the in situ management and use of genetic resources at the genetic, species and ecosystems level? This course will help participants to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of genetic resource management programmes, while actively involving stakeholders at all levels. Topics include:

  • Methodologies and tools for participatory learning and action

  • Community management of agrobiodiversity

  • Managing diversity at genetic, species and eco-systems levels

  • Linking policy, research and genetic resources management programmes

  • Project design addressing adaptive management of genetic resources.

Enhancing agrobiodiversity use: Markets and chains 2 – 13 June 2008
How can one manage supply chains and create markets for agrobiodiversity products? This course aims to create awareness of the economic values of agrobiodiversity and to promote its use through strategic, market-oriented approaches. After completing the course, participants can assess the problems in agricultural supply chains and formulate solutions that contribute to the sustainable use of agrobiodiversity. Topics addressed include:

  • Economic perspectives of enhanced agrobiodiversity use

  • Market trends and sector analysis

  • Supply chain concepts and chain integration

  • Analysis of farm performance for under-utilized crops

  • Marketing concepts for niche markets

  • Business plan development on the facilitation of chain development in a selected chain.

Genetic resource policies and genebank management 16 – 27 June 2008
What is the impact of international agreements, in particular the CBD, IT-PGRFA and TRIPS, at the institutional and local level on genetic resources management? How can genebanks best fulfill their aims regarding the conservation and utilization of genetic resources? The first part of the course focuses on genetic resources policies, aiming to increase the participants’ capabilities to deal with these in a genebank institutional context. The second part of the course focuses on recently developed perspectives on germplasm collection management, providing participants with the tools to manage germplasm collections more effectively. Topics addressed include:

  • International agreements relevant to genetic resources

  • Policy regimes

  • Genebank management policies

  • Collection management procedures

  • Rationalisation of collections

  • Documentation

  • Design of strategic genebank management plans.

Advanced approaches in participatory plant breeding 16 – 27 June 2008
How can small-scale, resource-poor farmers obtain the crops and varieties they prefer and gain access to starting material and necessary expertise? This course will assist participants in designing participatory crop improvement programmes through actively involving farmers and farmer communities in variety selection and breeding procedures. Topics addressed are:

  • Breeding objectives and user groups
  • Variety characteristics and sources of germplasm
  • Designing participatory variety selection and plant breeding programmes
  • Genotype x environment interaction
  • Variety release
  • Designing participatory crop improvement projects.



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Training on Contemporary approaches to plant genetic resources, conservation and use
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