Friday, September 13, 2002

So Afghanistan's seed banks, along with many other things, have been destroyed by looters, who stole the plastic containers. The CGIAR release reports, apparently without irony:
This is the second time that Afghanistan's national food crop collection has been destroyed, Wassimi notes. Following the destruction of the country's national genebank in 1992, efforts were made to re-collect samples of Afghanistan's major food and cash crops. Afghanistan is a major center of genetic diversity, and its native species are highly prized by consumers and plant breeders.
A Science News article on the situation makes an interesting point, which has nothing to do with, say, Africa:
The consortium emphasizes that its goal is to ensure that Afghan farmers receive seeds and tools appropriate for their specific needs´┐Żnot just what's cheap and easy to move. Moreover, "what is unique about the consortium is that members are committed to ensuring that science is placed up front in the recovery effort," says Avtar Kaul, a technical advisor with CARE, a hunger-relief organization. "All too often," he says, "well-meaning development agencies have intervened only to find out that what they're doing is technically inappropriate under local circumstances. We need to make sure that recovery efforts are based on a real understanding of Afghan agriculture so that they meet the real needs of affected communities."

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