Assessing linkages between genebanks and direct users (LINKAGES)

Activity Coordinator: Riccardo Bocci  Email

The project "Assessing linkages between genebanks and direct users (LINKAGES)", submitted by the On-farm Conservation and Documentation and Information Working Groups for funding under the Activity Grant Scheme, was selected by the Executive Committee and approved in May 2016, with a few specific recommendations as indicated in the Letter of award.


October 2018
The Final Activity Report is available

Assessing linkages between genebanks and direct users (LINKAGES) – Activity Report (481,1 KB)

June 2018
The final LINKAGES workshop, arranged in collaboration with the EU-funded project Diversifood ( was held 4-5 June 2018 in Florence, Italy.

Genebank curators and representatives of NGOs and farmers organizations joined to discuss the results of the surveys distributed to ex situ curators and to direct users. Both surveys were completed by nearly 50 respondents. Requests for direct use were received by nearly all the genebanks, whose policy in the majority of cases is to strive to make material available to anyone at no or minimal cost. The large majority of respondents from the direct user's side confirmed satisfactory receipt of requested seed. At the same time, most respondents from both sides acknowledged the potential which exists for further collaboration in a number of fields, which as present is limited by financial constraints and the small quantities of seed which the genebanks are able to provide to any user. The dialogue between the two sectors helped to reciprocally understand the respective roles and expectations. Opportunities were discussed for future collaboration in terms of multiplication, documentation and evaluation of genebank material, as well joint projects preparation.

 January 2018
Following the launch of the online ex situ survey at the end of September, 43 responses were received from genebank curators in 21 countries. Meanwhile, the on-farm survey was translated into five languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) and distributed to seed network partners in Europe for them to circulate the survey in the appropriate language to their communities of practice. Seed networks that are already circulating the survey are Rete Semi Rurali (in Italy), Réseau Semences Paysannes (France), Red de Semillas (Spain), Arche Noa (Austria), Pro Specie Rara (Switzerland and Germany). Contacts are being made with the Organic Research Centre and Garden Organic for distribution among UK practitioners. A few responses have already been received, while more are expected during the early months of 2018. The results will be analysed during March 2018 and the final workshop is planned to be held end of May in Italy.

May 2017
Since the kick-off meeting in early January 2017, the LINKAGES project team has developed the two survey instruments which will be used for gathering information from ex situ and on farm communities respectively. The surveys ask each stakeholder group to describe their experience with requesting and distributing germplasm for direct use purposes; the ex situ survey will be circulated to European genebank curators through the intermediation of ECPGR National Coordinators, while the on-farm surveys will be translated in five languages (Italian, English, French, Spanish and German) and circulated to representatives of seed networks and/or farmer associations. Surveys will be launched during the summer and results analysed in the autumn.

January 2017
A small kick-off meeting was held on 12 January 2017 at Bioversity International, Maccarese, Italy. The purpose of the meeting was to start outlining the survey instruments that will be used in the project to assess the extent to which genebank materials are accessible to direct users such as on-farm conservation communities.

On-farm Conservation and Management Working Group