Author: Jeremy Cherfas
Date: 18 August 2016
Azerbaijan is registered as the country of origin for 15,319 accessions in Genesys. Institutes in Azerbaijan list 10,879 accessions in Genesys.
Wheat comprises the largest crop (2742 accessions), with a large number of cotton accessions (1482 accessions) too. The country is an important area for fruit and berry crops and their wild relatives.
The main holders of PGRFA are affiliated with the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS) and the Ministry of Agriculture. The Genetic Resources Institute of ANAS houses the national genebank and coordinates activities on PGRFA.
More than 13,900 accessions are maintained in 34 collections, divided roughly equally between seed banks and field collections. According to the country information system, holdings include 2,100 accessions of crop wild relatives and 2,365 landraces and farmer varieties. Not all of these are formally conserved either ex-situ or on farm, although many are still being grown by farmers.
Collecting missions have added to the amount of PGRFA being conserved, particularly of landraces and farmers varieties, and further collecting missions are planned for priority genepools.
Individual farmers maintain collections for their own interest. For example, in Astara there is a farmer who has more than 20 varieties of paddy rice, while in Khanlar a farmers grows some 80 local grape varieties. These and other farmer collections are maintaining PGRFA, although there is no formal system for the management of on-farm conservation. Such a system is a priority of the national programme on PGRFA.
Azerbaijan is a Party to the International Treaty. The National Programme on Plant Genetic Resources is included in the National Strategies and Action Plans on Biodiversity.
A 2011 law "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Crop Genetic Resources" declares that landraces are national properties protected by the law.
An Information Center and information system holds a database that stores an inventory of PGRFA. Some collections continue to add information about their holdings to complete the central database, which is also updated periodically. A national network on PGR documentation supports the gathering and sharing of information.