Strengthening marginalized groups in the ex situ conservation of plant genetic resources

Agrobiodiversity is vital for resilient agricultural systems and their continuous adaptation to shocks and climate change. Therefore, it is important to conserve plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Such conservation can take place in genebanks (ex situ) or on farmers’ fields (in situ). Often, smallholder farmers, who produce about a third of the global food quantity, have also been safeguarding plant genetic resources. Their conservation efforts are crucial for conserving agrobiodiversity and therefore, benefits should accrue to them. In this respect, conservation projects that combine in and ex situ conservation in a dynamic and complementary way can be beneficial. Nevertheless, smallholder farmers often belong to marginalized groups, e.g., women, youth, or indigenous groups, and their needs and priorities are not always reflected in the strategies pursued by genebanks.


To explore the needs and priorities of marginalized groups with respect to ex situ conservation and hence, improve genebank strategies, HFFA Research was commissioned to conduct a research study. Based on literature review and interviews, we will write a report that discusses the needs and priorities of marginalized groups with respect to agrobiodiversity conservation. Further, we will compile efforts pursued by genebanks regarding complementary approaches of in and ex situ conservation, as well as the inclusion of marginalized groups. Based on this stocktaking, recommendations will be drawn to ultimately improve the safeguarding of our global heritage.


The study was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as part of the project ‘Strategic Development of the Global Crop Diversity Trust’. The project was established in 2021 and is ongoing until 2023. It is financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). HFFA Research will finish the report by the end of 2022.


For more information, please have a look at our project page.