Japanese agriculture is highly technological, and at the crux is the push to development new crop varieties to increase yield and improve their disease resistance, thereby enhancing food security in Japan. To develop these new crop varieties, researchers need access to plant genetic materials from other countries. Thus, facilitating access to plant genetic resources is a priority.
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is a legal framework which aims to facilitate international exchange of plant genetic materials. Specifically, the treaty tries to: 1. recognize the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world; 2. establish a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials; and 3. ensure that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated. The Japanese Ministry of Agricultures, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) has been keen to improve their ability to conduct characterization and evaluation on plant genetic resources in order to become a member of the treaty.
MAFF awarded IC Net the project entitled “The Project for Improving Access to Plant Genetic Resources from Foreign Countries” to improve MAFF’s ability to conduct evaluation and data collection on plant genetic materials, particularly in flowers and vegetables. The objectives of this projects are: