The Plant Genetic Resources Research Institute, Ghana is taking measures to preserve tree and crop species indigenous to the country as part of strategies to tackle the impact of climate variability.
Dickson Gamed, Senior scientific secretary at the institute told Africasti.com in Koforidua, Ghana that the institute’s seed bank had in stock over 10,000 crops and tree seedlings indigenous to the country which were being threatened by climate change.
Gamed said that the institute also utilise tissue culture technology in the preservation and conservation of those indigenous crops and trees for short, medium and long term purposes.
“We currently have over 10,000 seeds from various sources across the country in stock. Scientists from the institute are always in the field to collect crops or tree species going into extinction or facing the threat of the changing climate,” Gamed said.
He listed other factors leading to crops and tree extinction in the country to include the annual wild bush fire that ravage preserved forests and construction activities such as roads or dams.
“The institute has the mandate of ensuring that all plant genetic resources unique to Ghana is preserved so we undertake research to improve and preserve these plants and crops varieties.
He said that individuals, communities and organisations were encouraged to patronise the seed bank for plantations and individual cultivation.
“We don’t want the seeds to be left at the bank just like that, the aim of setting up the bank in the first place will be defeated, so we encourage the general public to buy them at subsidised rate,” he said.
The Secretary said the institute had also produced drought and pest resistant varieties of crops for the country.
“Through our research, we have been able to produce drought resistant and drought avoidance crop varieties as a way of enhancing food security in the country,” he said.
According to him, the drought avoidance crops were those re-engineered to mature within 45 to 90 days thereby avoiding drought period while local rice varieties are also prepared to survive in flood.