World Vegetable Center Launches Africa’s First Vegetable Genebank in Tanzania Through Taiwan-Africa Initiative

In a groundbreaking move for agricultural innovation and sustainability, the World Vegetable Center, also known as WorldVeg, celebrated the inauguration of Africa’s first Vegetable Genebank in Arusha, Tanzania, on 19 March 2024. This monumental project, part of the Taiwan-Africa Vegetable Initiative (TAVI), marks a significant stride towards securing the future of vegetable biodiversity on the continent.

The establishment of the genebank has been made possible through the generous funding and support of the Taiwanese government, with notable contributions from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan. This collaboration underscores Taiwan’s commitment to fostering global agricultural development and food security, particularly in regions vulnerable to climate change and biodiversity loss.

The Vegetable Genebank is poised to become a cornerstone for the preservation of indigenous and traditional vegetable varieties, many of which are at risk of extinction due to the encroachment of commercial agriculture and changing climatic conditions. By safeguarding these genetic resources, the genebank will not only conserve plant diversity but also offer invaluable assets for breeding programs aimed at developing more resilient and nutritious vegetable varieties.

The initiative falls under the broader aims of the TAVI project, which seeks to enhance vegetable production and consumption in Africa, thereby improving nutritional outcomes, boosting economic growth, and addressing food security challenges across the continent. The choice of Arusha, Tanzania, as the location for the genebank is strategic, given the region’s rich biodiversity and its role as a hub for agricultural research and development in Africa.

Speaking at the inauguration, representatives from the World Vegetable Center and the Taiwanese government emphasized the importance of international cooperation in tackling global challenges such as food insecurity and climate change. The genebank is a testament to what can be achieved when countries come together to share knowledge, technology, and resources for the greater good.

The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for seed storage, research, and propagation, ensuring that the genetic material is preserved under optimal conditions. Additionally, the genebank will serve as a center for learning and capacity building, offering training programs for researchers, farmers, and agricultural professionals from across Africa and beyond.

As the world grapples with the urgent need for sustainable agricultural practices and the conservation of plant genetic resources, the inauguration of Africa’s Vegetable Genebank stands as a beacon of hope and innovation. Through the continued support of international partners and the dedicated efforts of the World Vegetable Center, the genebank is set to make an indelible impact on the future of agriculture in Africa and the world at large.