The SADC Plant Genetic Resource Centre : A regional plant genetic resource management networks

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Kasankha, Samuel S
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This eight-chapter report describes the activities of the SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre (SPGRC) located at Chalimbana in Zambia. It results from the student's four months attachment to the institution from 5"' July to 9"' November 2000, the attachment being part fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Communication for Development (MCD) of the University of Zambia. The attachment was intended to acquaint the student with the organisational structure of the SPGRC, its aims, objectives and functions, and more so. the type and role of communication in the network.The student relied heavily on participant observation and one-on-one interviews to gather information. There was also considerable recourse to SADC and SPGRC documents, as well as other relevant literature. In the process, the student disco\cred that over a period of slightly more than a decade since 1989. the SPGRC has establishment a SADC regional network of plant genetic resources management in about all member countries. I his has been done in collaboration with donors from mostly the Nordic community.While successes have included not just the establishment of the network but equipment of the National Plant Genetic Resources Centres (NPGRCs), training of personnel in the relevant expertise and reaching fairly acceptable staffing levels, inadequate funding, especially as a result of lack of full understanding of the benefits of the project by member states, has served as a huge impediment to progress. Additionally, there appears to be no deliberately planned and sustained communication programme, which may be a direct result of the heavy concentration of agricultural experts at the expense of other professionals, for instance, communication experts or anthropologists. To cap it all, modern development theory strongly argues for full participation of target groups in their own development, a phenomenon that is clearly absent in the formulation and implementation of^this plant genetic resources conservation project. The report ends with recommendations on how the network can deal with the noted problems.
Agriculture -- Research -- Zambia , Crop heritage -- Zambia , Germplasm resources, plant -- Zambia , Communication in Agriculture -- Zambia