News: 2016 GOAL Master Class held in India, April 2017

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) works for the conservation and sustainable use of all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. It requires all signatory nations to collaborate, exchange germplasm and report on the germplasm distributed to users, such as plant breeders.

To achieve this goal, genebanks must be able to deploy minimal standards in their management activities as well as in the exchange of germplasm and associated information. The Crawford Fund’s Genebank Management and Advanced Learning (GOAL) Master Class is supported by The Global Crop Diversity Trust, with in-kind support from India’s National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources and Bioversity International’s New Delhi Office. The aim is to provide national and regional genebanks in the Asia-Pacific region with the capacity to develop quality management systems so they can be proactive members of the international genebank community. The GOAL Master Class provides the participating genebanks with the skills to do this.


The 2016 GOAL Master Class was held in New Delhi, India, during November 2016. Dr Michael Mackay, Honorary Associate Professor at The University of Queensland, undertook all the logistical planning on behalf of the Crawford Fund, including obtaining support, identifying participants, developing the program and delivering the training.

Sixteen participants attended from the following genebanks:

  • Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) in Fiji
  • National Biodiversity Centre in Nepal
  • Agricultural Research Center in Laos
  • Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI)
  • Mongolian Institute of Plant and Agricultural Sciences
  • Myanmar Seed Bank
  • National Agriculture Genetic Resources Centre in Nepal
  • National Plant Genetic Resources Laboratory in the Philippines
  • Sri Lankan Plant Genetic Resources Centre
  • Plant Resource Center in Vietnam
  • World Vegetable Center in Taiwan.

“We were very pleased that at the conclusion of the GOAL Master Class the eleven participating genebanks had developed the outline for their operational manual together with at least two sections of activities that included the procedures they deploy,” said Dr Mackay.

The Master Class provided training on how to design a custom Genebank Operational Manual (GOM), the components that should be included, a standard structure to use to describe all their genebank activities, and templates for documenting some of the more commonly used ‘standard operating procedures’ (SOPs).

“It’s particularly important to continue to build skills. A previous GOAL Master Class in 2015 introduced the participants to the international management and information standards that must be used by genebanks to participate in the global community. Future GOAL Master Classes are anticipated to further improve genebank management within the Asia-Pacific region,” said Dr Mackay.