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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
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

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.
A recap of genebank’s work at field stations in Debre Zeyit and Zwai and at the genebank at ILRI headquarters in Addis Ababa.

A tour of the genebank at ILRI’s headquarters in Addis Ababa

ILRI’s field genebank at Zwai

ILRI’s regeneration plots at Debre Zeyit

Useful links

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

Forage grasses

Forage legumes

External links

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

Key performance indicators of CGIAR genebanks, 2012-2017

HINT: Use the search key to filter the data. For descriptions of performance indicators, click here.
Indicator 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
1. Total number of accessions 18,850 18,716 18,640 18,634 18,627 18,638
2. Total number of accessions that are currently available 7,655 6,794 8,182 9,182 9,690 10,321
3. Number of seed accessions 18,850 18,716 18,640 18,634 18,627 18,638
4. Number of vegetatively-propagated accessions 0 0 0 0 0 0
5. Number of live plant accessions 0 0 0 0 0 0
6. Number of seed accessions held in long-term storage and safety duplicated at two levels 1,341 3,515 3,515 3,515 3,515 3,515
7. Number of vegetatively-propagated accessions in cryopreservation or safety duplicated as in vitro 0 0 0 0 0 0

Genebank operations, 2012-2017

HINT: Use the search key to filter the data
Indicator 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Number accessions received 0 52 0 0 0 0
Number accessions regenerated 0 0 82 0 0 10
Number accessions multiplied 1,036 1,074 1,220 1,037 720 802
Number accessions health tested 1,096 768 1,016 777 1,981 1,366
Number accessions cleaned 0 0 0 6 0 120
Number accessions viability tested 522 571 1,730 1,164 1,171 838
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