Locally adapted varieties are crucial in maintaining food security, especially in areas with little control over crop growth conditions. The use of high yielding varieties does hardly contribute to food security in these vulnerable areas, so farmers have to propagate their own varieties.
Wageningen Seed Centre (WSC) supports community-based programs to maintain the biodiversity of local propagation material. Wild plant species have great economic value. WSC has the expertise to quickly assess the economic perspectives of the use of these plants for various purposes. Genetic diversity is the raw material for plant breeding.
WSC has a gene bank through which the Netherlands contribute to the international efforts to conserve diversity. This gene bank, the Centre for Genetic Resources (CGN) maintains over 20,000 accessions of many crops. The mandate crops of CGN are lettuce, onion, wild potato and brassica. Genetic material is made available to breeders and research institutes all over the world.