The Horticultural Genetic Resources Department’ is one of the technical departments of the Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (EBI) mandated to undertake conservation and ensure sustainable utilization of horticultural genetic resources. The department has conducted several exploration and collection missions in different parts of the country so as to collect and conserve the diversity of horticultural genetic resources. Often, the exploration and collection missions are prioritized on the basis of the economic importance, genetic diversity and degree of threat on the crop in question. The germplasm collected over the years are being conserved using appropriate conservation strategies depending on the storage behavior of the species. i.e. cold storage and field gene bank.. Currently, many spices and vegetables accessions are being conserved in the cold storage facilities of the institute.
Field Gene Banks
Many horticultural crop species have seeds that cannot tolerate desiccation and low temperatures. These species have ‘recalcitrant’ seeds as a result they cannot be conserved in ordinary cold storage facilities. Therefore, species with recalcitrant types of seeds, and those species that propagate vegetatively are conserved in field gene banks as live collections. Currently, 5238 accessions of coffee, 270 accessions of root and tuber crops and 69 accessions of herbs and spices are conserved in Bedesa and Choche field genebanks.
Choche field gene bank
Choche field genebank is located in Oromia Regional State in Jimma Zone, Goma Woreda near Agaro town at approximately 1600 masl, at 7o54’ N and 36o39’ E. It has a total area of 21 hectares, and was established two decades ago mainly for conserving coffee genetic resources of the country. Currently, however, 12 species of horticultural genetic resources are being conserved in the field genebank.