Crops are an essential component of our agricultural production. Their diversity is important for sustainable agriculture, which in times of climate change needs to supply a growing world population with food. Therefore, this diversity must be protected and made available for sustainable use.
The National Programme for Plant Genetic Resources is the basis for nationwide activities aimed at the conservation and sustainable use of the diversity of our crops and their wild relatives.
In Germany there are numerous genebanks in which the diversity of cultivated plants is preserved, from the seed sample to the entire plant. The following pages provide an overview of the German genebanks.
Some of our crops have related wild species that occur in Germany. The genetic diversity of these crop wild relatives (CWR) is an important resource for plant breeding which we need to conserve.
Cultivated plants have been used and continuously developed for thousands of years. The constant selection for further use has generated a large regionally adapted variety of selected landraces and local varieties.
In the course of structural changes in the agricultural and food industry, numerous crops in Germany have disappeared from large-scale cultivation and will be completely lost if they are not used any more.
Experts support the Federal Government in the implementation of the National Programme for PGR. They constitute the Advisory and Coordination Committee for Plant Genetic Resources for agricultural and horticultural crops (BEKO).
The National Inventory on Plant Genetic Resources in Germany (PGRDEU) is the central documentation on plant genetic resources of agricultural and horticultural species and related wild plants in Germany. It contains a wide range of information on the diversity existing in Germany.
No country in the world is autonomous in securing and using plant genetic resources. Therefore international cooperation at European and global level is essential.