Featured comment: Community seed drying

Denise Costich, who has just retired as head of the CIMMYT genebank, gives us a bit of the back story to a paper we included in a recent Brainfood:

Thanks for the mention of our Dry Chain work… the first time I heard about drying beads was at my very first AGM in Rome in 2012. That was a key introduction to this technology for me. It was there in my “knowledge base” when we first began to tackle the problem of seed storage in remote locations without electricity – the community seed reserves and farmers’ corn cribs of the Western Highlands of Guatemala.

AGM stands for Annual Genebank Meeting. The managers of the CGIAR genebanks have been organizing them since 2012.

Featured: ABS

Susan Bragdon has a question on that goopy maize agreement:

But what about the possible impacts of this agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity?


Featured: Herbemont

It seems I may have inadvertently walked into a little bit of a controversy with that post on Herbemont. Dr Jerry Rodrigues of the University of Cape Town hopes for a resolution in a comment on the post:

Let’s hope that sooner rather than later, researchers in the Department of Viticulture and Enology or at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository (University of California, Davis) or the Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU) at Geneva, New York will not be afraid to make public the microsatellite DNA markers for the true Herbemont.

Whereas Erika Maul from the Julius Kühn-Institut, which maintains the Vitis International Variety Catalogue (VIVC), has this to say in an email:

Herbemont and Jacquez are maintained in European collections and seem not to be endangered. These photos from VIVC could assist to confirm identification.

Featured: Seed innovation

Susan Bragdon is not so sure about that OECD study about innovation in a consolidating seed sector:

Even if we were to miraculously all agree that these big guys are innovative that does not mean they are behaving in ways that promote or at least do not hurt the public welfare. Corporate concentration allows an exertion of power vertically up and down supply chains and not just in this sector. And unfortunately, powerful, concentrated corporate power increasingly set the rules of the game affecting any kind of true democratic accountability. And it is not just agriculture


And extra points for spotting the link to the post on extension :)

Featured: NZ sweetpotatoes

Ashley Gould doesn’t think much of a story about Yen’s sweetpotato collection in New Zealand that I linked to a few years back.

“Feel good” but essentially untrue… Disinformation and confusion dominated this story from 1988.

Good to have these things debunked. I should have researched the story better.