Strategic Goal C:Target 13:By 2020, the genetic diversity of Plants and Animals safeguarded

Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity

Target 13:By 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.

Contributions/Measures

Some relevant policy and legal frameworks for GR in Kenya[1] include the Environment Management and Coordination Act (EMCA, 2015); Industrial Properties Act Cap 509 (2001); the Forestry Act (2005); the National Biosafety Act (2009); the Land Act (No. 2 of 2012); Seeds and Plant (Amendment) Act 2012; Crops Act No. 16 of 2013; Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (No. 47 of 2013); the Science, Technology and Innovations Act (2013); Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Act No. 17 of 2013; the National Biotechnology Development Policy (2006); Kenya National Seed Policy (2010); Natural Resources Bill (2014) and Kenya’s Protection of Traditional Knowledge and Cultural Expressions Act of 2016.

GERRI developed National Strategy on Genetic Resources Within the context of Climate Change 2016 – 2020 as a response to the second Global Plan of Action (GPA) for GRFA, and the National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP). The Strategy provides a comprehensive framework for:

  • sustainable use, development and conservation of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture,
  • mainstreaming climate change impacts into the conservation agenda, and
  • systems for consensus building when engaging different stakeholders to develop mechanisms for equitable sharing of benefits accrued from utilization of plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

 

The National Gene Bank of Kenya, now operating under the auspices of GeRRI, is the only long-term ex situ conservation facility in the country which currently holds a repository of about 50,000 plant accessions representing 165 families, 893 genera and 2,000 species. These materials have been assembled through both in-country collecting expeditions and donations from within and outside Kenya. Out of the 2,000 species conserved at the GeRRI gene bank, only 144 have been characterized, none of which has been comprehensively evaluated for biotic and abiotic stresses.

Only 4,000 accessions out of the more than 50,000 conserved at the GeRRI gene bank have been distributed for utilization in the last 15 years, of which a total of 3,189 accessions have been distributed over the last 5 years. This is partly because less than 10% of the accessions have been characterized and evaluated due to insufficient scientific staffing and financial constraints. Plant genetic resources secured under long term ex situ conservation increased by over two thousand (2000) accessions (ecotypes) comprise of 78 Families, 200 genera and 321 species (National Genebank database). More significantly, over eighty (80) of the collected and secured species (which constitutes close to 25%) during the period under review were new to conservation in the country. The Genetic Resources Research Institute has to date amassed over 50,000 accessions comprising close to 2000 species of diverse plant genetic resources at its conservation facility.

GeRRI in partnership with the National Museums of Kenya, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew of the United Kingdom, and Kenya Forestry Research Institute, working under the auspices of the Seeds for Life Project, have recently described some more than 10 plant species that are new to science, collected and banked close to 1,000 plant species that are new to ex situ conservation in Kenya.

GeRRI in partnership with the National Museums of Kenya, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew of the United Kingdom, and Kenya Forestry Research Institute, working under the auspices of the Seeds for Life Project, have recently described some more than 10 plant species that are new to science, collected and banked close to 1,000 plant species that are new to ex situ conservation in Kenya.

[1] The legislative framework put in place (KALR  ACT, The Seed and Plant Varieties Act)-Laws of Kenya (www.genetic.kalro.org/docs/Genetic_Regulations_PGRFA.pdf)