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Michel Roux-Cuvelier : "The Germination Project - creating a regional network of genetic resources for agriculture"

Written by David JOSSEROND Modified on the

  • Michel Roux-Cuvelier

The launch of the "Germination" regional cooperation project (Genetic Resources Management in Action Towards an Indian Ocean Network), sponsored by CIRAD, was held from 18 to 20 February 2014 at the Plant Protection Centre (3P) in Saint-Pierre, Réunion. Here we present an interview with Michel Roux-Cuvelier, the project’s scientific coordinator.

Tell us briefly about the Germination project.

- Germination (Genetic Resources Management in Action Towards an Indian Ocean Network) is a regional cooperation project in the Indian Ocean which endeavors to conserve, preserve and enhance agricultural genetic resources (AGR). Over 18months, the project will bring together 27 partners (institutions, public agencies, private companies). One of the features of this project is the involvement, from the outset, of private partners who will apply their knowledge and skills.

What, more specifically, are the objectives of the project ?

-This will be the first step in building a regional network of stakeholders involved in the conservation, management and enhancement of AGR in the countries of the south-western Indian Ocean and classifying, as comprehensively as possible, these resources. In parallel, the development of communication tools, including web-based services, between all partners in the area, is expected to help develop the network. A tool for data management, taking into account the specificities of each partner country, will also be developed to organize and display the data collected. Eventually a new project, offering strategies to meet the challenges of food security and conservation of the region’s agro-biodiversity, will be developed.

Where did the idea for this project come from?

- The supply of quality seeds and seedlings in the Indian Ocean area has always been a chronic issue and concerns all partners. The need quickly emerged to focus more specifically on local genetic resources, their conservation and preservation, not least in the interests of food security. However, no project intended to focus specifically on this issue. Thus, the Germination project was born, which focuses on conservation of agro-biodiversity and helps safeguards valuable resources.

Which genetic resources does the Germination project aim to preserve and enhance?

- This is precisely the purpose of the inventory that we intend to put together, which we want to be as comprehensive as possible. However, it is likely that we will focus on under-utilized species or "orphan species", particularly Tsiperifery (wild peppers), species endemic to Madagascar, or Comoros breadfruit, whose conservation and enhancement are vital for food security, and for which there is very little reliable scientific data.

  • Partners : France (Réunion), Madagascar, Mauritius (and Rodrigues), the Seychelles, the Comores and Tanzania (Zanzibar)
  • Programme, information: ??Michel Roux-Cuvelier – GERMINATION Project Coordinator