Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Mains Marks Booster     31st July 2023        
output themes

Introduction: Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) refer to the diverse collection of genetic material found in plants that are essential for food production, nutrition, and agricultural sustainability. Examples include wild variety, gene pool, gene bank etc.

Importance of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR)

importance of plant genetic resources

International Agreements and Initiatives:

  • International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources: Fact: Over 150 countries are parties to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
  • Access and Benefit Sharing: Nagoya Protocol: Example: Farmers in developing countries receive compensation for the commercial use of their traditional crop varieties, promoting fair sharing of benefits.
  • Crop Trust and Global Crop Diversity Trust: The Crop Trust's Crop Wild Relatives project focuses on collecting, conserving, and utilizing wild relatives of crops for future food security.
  • Global Seed Vault Network: Example: The African Orphan Crops Consortium has established a seed bank network across Africa, preserving neglected and underutilized crop species.
  • Farmers' Rights and Local Governance: Recognizing farmers' rights and empowering local communities in the governance of PGRFA fosters sustainable agriculture and community resilience.
  • Example: The Biodiversity Act in India grants farmers' rights to conserve, use, and exchange seeds, protecting traditional knowledge and promoting agricultural biodiversity.

Challenges and threats:

challenges and threats

Way forward:

  • Crop Wild Relatives Conservation: Conserving wild plant relatives maintains genetic diversity for crop improvement.
  • Seed and Gene Banks: Storing seeds and genetic materials ensures future availability for breeding and research.
  • Participatory Plant Breeding: Involving farmers integrates local knowledge for adaptable crop varieties.
  • Open-Source Plant Breeding: Sharing genetic resources fosters collaborative innovation among breeders.
  • Digital Agriculture and Big Data: Digital tools accelerate crop breeding and resilient variety development.
  • Policy and Partnerships: Robust frameworks and collaborations promote equitable use and conservation.


In the future, the effective management and utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture will be crucial for addressing global challenges such as climate change, food security, and sustainable agriculture. By prioritizing conservation, innovation, and equitable partnerships, we can harness the potential of these resources to create resilient and productive agricultural systems that nourish current and future generations.

     Extra Marks Fetching component by theIAShub

  • Rahibai Soma Popere from Maharashtra also known as Beej Mata (seed mother) for  was recently awarded Padma Shri for conservation of collection of local seeds and their conservation.  
  • Beej Bachao Andolan in Uttarakhand led by activist and farmer Vijay Jardhari is aimed at conserving traditional varieties of seeds since 1980s.