COMSTECH held training workshop on Genebank “Acquisition, Conservation, Exchange, and Safety Duplication of Plant Genetic Resources” in OIC Member Countries – Africa Chapter”. It was organized online in partnership with the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), Kazakhstan, and the Bio-resources Conservation Institute (BCI) of Pakistan Agricultural Research Centre (PARC), Islamabad.

The Coordinator General of COMSTECH, Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary and the Director General of IOFS, Mr. Yerlan A. Baidaulet addressed the opening session of the workshop and described the commitment of their respective organizations to ensure the capacity of African member states of OIC to manage and develop their plant genetic material using genebanks. Both the heads stressed the importance of developing and maintaining cooperation and sharing technical expertise and genetic material among member states.

Addressing the crucial issue of providing food security in the face of booming populations and looming climate change scenarios, COMSTECH is organizing a series of international regional training webinars on the preservation and expansion of national plant genetic resources.

The objectives of this series of webinars are to build the capacity of OIC member countries in maintenance and operations of genebanks – collection of genetic materials, conservation, germplasm exchange policies – and familiarize the participants with international and national laws and policies on the subject. The webinars also seek to enhance networking among genebanks from different countries, as effective international collaboration will help preserve biodiversity and ensure long-term agricultural sustainability and food security worldwide.

Resource persons represent the extensive experience and knowledge of the genebanks and research institutions of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Tunisia, Turkey, and UAE. The participating institutions include the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) and the National Genebank of Pakistan, the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, UAE, the Kazakh Research Institute of Agriculture and Plant Growing, the Natural and Medical Sciences Research Center at the University of Nizwa, Oman, the Biodiversity and Genetic Resources Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Turkey, the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS), the National Genebank of Tunisia, and National Genetic Resources Centre of Nigeria.

Over 70 participants are attending this two-day conference from Burkina Faso, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia, and Uganda.

The event will be followed by similar training webinar for the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region of the OIC in Sept. 2021. After the training webinars have been completed, the two organizations (COMSTECH and IOFS) plan to organize a conference for genebank specialists from all three regions (Asia, Africa, and MENA) to consolidate the outcomes and cement the newly formed partnerships between the genebanks.


By Arsalan Ahmad

Arsalan Ahmad is a Research Engineer working on 2-D Materials, graduated from the Institute of Advanced Materials, Bahaudin Zakariya University Multan, Pakistan.LinkedIn: