A prominent African plant scientist, Felix Dapare Dakora, commends China for its commitment to sharing germ plasm, essential genetic resources, with developing nations to bolster agricultural research and combat the decline in crop biodiversity.
The exchange of germ plasm, which includes seeds and animal tissue, is increasingly recognised as vital for enhancing crop varieties, especially in the face of extreme weather events fuelled by climate change.
Dakora, a former president of the African Academy of Sciences and now a foreign academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, lauded China’s role in facilitating the global sharing of germ plasm, emphasising its crucial role in mitigating the impact of climate change on food security.
He highlighted the importance of preserving crop biodiversity as a tool for researchers to develop resilient crop varieties capable of withstanding challenges such as heatwaves, plant diseases, and pests.
The Chinese government’s proactive approach to safeguarding germ plasm includes the establishment of facilities like the National Wild Rice Germ Plasm Resources Garden and initiatives like the genome-to-phenome program. These efforts underscore China’s commitment to advancing food security through cutting-edge breeding technologies and international collaboration.
China’s strides in agricultural technologies, including biotechnology and gene-editing, have positioned it as a global leader in food production. Dakora expressed optimism about Africa’s potential to emulate China’s success by working closely with the country, envisioning a future of abundant food production and self-sufficiency.
“Africa is where China was, but China has gone past that, and this is the way today, with abundant food everywhere for people to eat and making new products out of the food that China produces,” Dakora stated, emphasising the potential for Africa to achieve similar success in a shorter timeframe through collaboration with China.