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International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Forages Genebank

ILRI’s genebank collection of nearly 20,000 forage accessions is the most diverse in terms of species.

ILRI researcher, Elise Schieck, in laboratory
ILRI researcher, Elise Schieck, in laboratory. Credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu

The 20 most numerous species account for just 29% of almost 20,000 accessions. The collection holds more than 1000 species, the vast majority of which (97%) are wild species rather than cultivars or landraces.

The genebank has recently undergone major renovation to replace the aged, prefabricated structure with a fully modern genebank.

Characterization of forages at ILRI looks in detail at phenotypic variation, particularly in nutritional traits, and resistance to pests and diseases. The goal is to identify accessions that offer better performance for use as part of sustainable farming systems and as best bets for further evaluation and possible improvement.

To promote the use of forages throughout sub-Saharan Africa, ILRI’s genebank operates a Herbage Seed Unit that offers training to national scientists and technicians and provides selected starter quantities of seed for multiplication and distribution.

Useful links

Genebank Manager: Jean Hanson
Head of Germplasm Health Unit: N/A
Key staff: Chris Jones, Program Leader, Feed & Forages Biosciences

Forage grasses

Forage legumes

Fodder tree species

External links

Website
Searchable local database
Tropical Forages Database
Search Genesys for accessions at ILRI

Two ILRI genebank staff plant and label cuttings of Napier grass, received from EMBRAPA, Brazil into pots.
Two ILRI genebank staff plant and label cuttings of Napier grass, received from EMBRAPA, Brazil into pots. Credit: ILRI

Status of ILRI genebank according to performance targets

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2016
Accessions18,627
Availability52%
Safety duplication19%
Passport Data Completeness Index (Average)6.56

ILRI by the numbers

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Full-time staff equivalents30
Date to reach performance targets2022
Projected accession numbers in 202218,600

Publications

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