Plasm politics

Published: Friday 31 May 1996

-- In order to take crucial decisions on germplasm access and management, an honest accounting of the geopolitics of 'where does it come from' is needed. With 75 per cent of the ex situ collections, that is, resources preserved in laboratories and gene-banks, in the North, and 83 per cent of the ihsitu resources, that is, those thriving in their natural habitat, in the South, it is high time for the reapportionment of the proceeds from biodiversity to the benefit of the South's farmers. Possessing 86 per cent of higher plants and 96 per cent of the world's farmers, the South's dominant role in agricultural germplasm and in situ technology is beyond question. Indisputably, the future of world food security is dependent on these people and their resources.

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