Capacity Development

Capacity development in Peru and Ethiopia

With the Capacity Development initiative, KWS supports the further education of predominantly young plant breeders in Peru and Ethiopia. The focus is on the development and propagation of regionally adapted varieties. The focus is on maize and quinoa (Inca rice) in Peru, on barley and wheat in Ethiopia. The initiative helps to protect the existing diversity of genetic resources and use them sustainably. At the same time, the international agreement on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture will be implemented.

Challenges and goals in Peru

Peru's climate and agriculture are diverse. Small farmers cultivate a variety of maize and varieties of quinoa in all parts of the country. But climate change has threatened this variety. In addition, young people are migrating to the cities and traditional knowledge of cultivation, use and preservation of crops is being lost. The consequences: Chronic food shortages - particularly in more remote regions.

To increase the food security of Peruvian smallholders, we are focusing on three important goals: The promotion of the development of new maize and quinoa varieties, the sustainable use of genetic diversity, and the training of young Peruvian scientists.

Previous activities and first results

Managing genetic maize resources efficiently

Together with the National
Agrarian University in La Molina, we are working
on the optimisation of the
management of genetic resources of maize in the UNALM gene bank.

  • Characterisation with respect to agronomic characteristics of 1,781 maize seed samples from various ecological zones of Peru
  • Characterisation with respect to genetic material with modern "genotyping-by-sequencing" (GbS) techniques
  • Creating a database
  • Training of a scientist in database creation, GbS techniques and data analysis at the University of Hohenheim

Strengthening national maize breeding programmes

Together with the National Institute for Agricultural Innovation (INIA, Cusco), we have been able to develop improved maize varieties for widespread acidic soils.

  • Training in various methods of population improvement, comparison of each expected and realised profit of selection (field trials are still being run)
  • Studies on the tolerance of newly bred maize populations and local maize varieties to acid soils: Identification of superior varieties for the Selva regions

Development of new quinoa breeding strategies

A study of the genetic diversity of twelve quinoa varieties has led to six new populations and to the identification of genome regions for different traits.

  • Study of genetic diversity of twelve quinoa varieties with almost fifty thousand molecular markers
  • Creation of new genetic variation from single and double crossings
  • Development of six new populations, as well as identification of genomic regions for different characteristics.

Discover more information about Peru here
  • People at KWS

    We can develop new solutions faster via international exchange.

    Lorena Santus, UNALM scientist in Hohenheim

Challenges and goals in Ethiopia

Most of the farmers and small businesses cannot afford fertilisers, plant protection and irrigation. Therefore a profitable and sustainable harvest depends mainly on robust plant varieties with high durability and quality. However, this is precisely what is missing: certified seed and sufficient new varieties adapted to the extremely diverse cultivation conditions in Ethiopia.

The aim is to protect plant genetic resources and make them sustainable for local agriculture. In addition, we want to strengthen the regional seed industry and promote the development of new barley and wheat varieties.

Previous activities and first results

Strengthening barley and wheat breeding

  • Provision of 20 German barley and wheat varieties for transferring quality traits into local varieties
  • Training employees in different methodologies
  • Training scientists in marker-assisted selection and the development of double haploids in Germany
  • Provision of breeding equipment and material

Use of genetic resources

  • Training employees in gene bank management at the Leibniz Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) in Gatersleben
  • Repatriation of 7,200 barley samples
  • Provision of gene bank equipment and material

Promotion of small farmers

  • Distribution and monitoring cultivation of seed samples from improved barley and wheat varieties, with so far more than 2,000 small farmers
  • Redistribution of the obtained seed after harvest to small farmers
  • Cautious estimates assume that 9,000 farmers have been equipped with seed of superior varieties

Discover more information about Ethiopia here

Your contact

Picture of Wolf-Gebhard von der Wense
Wolf-Gebhard von der Wense
Interims Corporate Sustainability Manager
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