When added value loses value

There’s a conflict between helping farmers to get more value from niche varieties or neglected species and ensuring that the market does not become oversupplied as a result of others emulating that success. BBC News reports on the plight of vanilla growers in the Comoros Islands as the rest of the world cashes in on high vanilla prices.

Typhoon destroyed Philippine genebank

Typhoon Xangsane (known locally as Milenyo) damaged almost all of the material stored at the National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory in the Philippines, according to a report in the Philippine Daily Enquirer. All of the root crops were buried in mud. The International Rice Research Institute has temporarily allowed the Phillipine national system to use its facilities while it assesses the damage. IRRI genebank head Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton said:

We are committed to doing everything we can to help our local colleagues get through this difficult period.

IRRI’s facilities were also extensively damaged by the typhoon, although the genebank emerged unscathed. Jose E. Hernandez, of the Institute of Plant Breeding at the University of the Philippines, Los Baños, said that he expected the Philippine facilities to be back to normal within about six weeks.