Grain scientists from 11 grains genebanks across 18 countries will converge on Horsham, Victoria, to discuss protecting the future of our world-wide food crops when they attend the International Genebank Managers Annual General Meeting (AGM) this week.
Australian Grains Genebank Senior Researcher Dr Sally Norton said the AGM is held in a different country every year but 2016 is the first time it had come to Australia.
Organised by the Global Crop Diversity Trust based in Bonn, Germany, Dr Norton said the meeting brings together the 11 genebanks from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Genebank Research Program and a number of other invited genebanks.
Scientists from Mexico, France, Columbia, Peru, Morocco, Lebanon, Kenya, India, Niger, Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Phillipines, Benin, Fiji, Belgium, Italy, New Zealand and Australia will attend the meeting.
Dr Norton said it was a privilege for Horsham and the Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) to host such a prestigious group of scientists.
“Scientists at the very top of their field attend the meeting with some of the world’s most influential genebank managers meeting in Horsham to discuss issues of world-wide importance to the future of our food crops,” she said.
“At previous meetings with the Crop Trust, the AGG volunteered to host the 2016 meeting and we were delighted to hear that our offer was accepted. The team is really looking forward to showcasing the Australian Grains Genebank to scientists from right across the world, showing them what we’ve achieved and the projects we are working on.”
“It will be fantastic to meet fellow genebank managers who experience similar challenges to us and there are many issues I am looking forward to discussing with them.”
The AGM first includes its genebank planning and review meeting at the AGG in Horsham, and then an open meeting to be held at Agriculture Victoria’s AgriBio centre in Bundoora.
Dr Norton said the Horsham section of the meeting would include tours of the AGG and Agriculture Victoria’s Grains Innovation Park, and visits to local trial sites around the Wimmera.
On their way to Melbourne, the international guests would be treated to some leisure time in the Grampians with an indigenous cultural tour at Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre in Halls Gap, and getting up close and personal with some of our native wildlife.
The AgriBio section of the meeting would include presentations from Agriculture Victoria staff such as Dr Norton and Professor German Spangenberg, as well as seminars and presentations on issues such as data, clonal crops, forages, conservation strategies, and acquisition and retention plans.