The European Commission is disappointed. Back in 2004, it established a Community programme on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture.
The Community Programme co-funds 17 actions, involving around 180 partners located in 25 Member States and 12 non EU countries, with around EUR 8.9 million. The actions started in 2007 with a maximum duration of 4 years.
It’s done ok, but not as well as hoped, it seems, according to a new report just out.
As underlined by the evaluation report, the programme was helpful in improving the scientific knowledge of the nature, management and potential of various agricultural genetic resources, and advanced the understanding of local practices and needs. It also helped to build effective cross-border cooperation, to stimulate contacts and active networking, and to attract attention of stakeholders concerning the importance of conservation activities. However, a gap remained in the form of limited involvement of end-users with direct consequences on the “use” of genetic resources and insufficient cooperation and exchange of information and knowledge among the relevant actors.
Ah, the dreaded “use.” How does one get those pesky users to play the game?
The vast scientific knowledge gathered has to find its way into breeding and farming practice, where it needs to be adapted to practice needs and joined with traditional knowledge existing at farm level. In order to encourage the co-creation and sharing of knowledge among all actors involved, active networking and facilitation of communication needs to fill the gap between the science-based work, including the characterisation and evaluation of genetic resources and the development of more diverse varieties to expand the sustainable use of genetic resources.
So there you have it, “active networking and facilitation of communication.” Much like we do here, in fact. We await the Commission’s call. And euros.