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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: National Programs

Project Number: 0500-00008-001-38-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 18, 2009
End Date: Jun 17, 2014

The general objectives for this joint Bioversity International/USDA-ARS project are to collaborate with other international partners from the private and public sectors to encourage individual national and international cacao genetic resource collections and national and international cacao breeding programs to commit cacao germplasm, breeding lines and capacity, information, in-kind resources, and institutional support to fostering the global capacity to conserve, genetically-improve, and sustainably use cacao genetic resources and develop new high-yielding cacao varieties with resistance to pest and diseases and of high quality. The specific project objectives are: • In collaboration with other international partners, and under the guidance of the CacaoNet Steering Committee, catalyze the assembly of national and international cacao germplasm collections into CacaoNet, an integrated global cacao genetic resource network that facilitates ready access to germplasm in the public domain. Promote the CacaoNet concept to potential network members, and assist them with legal and institutional arrangements needed to formally join CacaoNet. Coordinate the operation of CacaoNet Working Groups. Secure funding from a variety of international public and private-sector sources to sustain CacaoNet’s operation. • In collaboration with other international partners, foster the effective operation of the International Group for the Genetic Improvement of Cacao (INGENIC), including organizing workshops, and publishing workshop proceedings and regular newsletters. • As short-term collaborative opportunities arise, cooperate with international partners to conduct collaborative cacao genetic resource and breeding coordination and research activities that contribute to the preceding two objectives.

To optimally conserve, and facilitate ready access to, cacao genetic resources in the public domain, conservation activities worldwide must be integrated and coordinated under an international framework (CacaoNet), with a well-defined legal status, in close collaboration with the CGIAR and Global Crop Diversity Trust and in agreement with the conditions of the FAO International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The conserved cacao germplasm will be distributed according to agreed international quarantine procedures through third-country quarantine services; efficient cacao genetic resource information management practices will deliver key data effectively and will be closely linked to the international genetic resource information management standards. Characterization and evaluation of cacao genetic resources will be coordinated and facilitated. Germplasm will be made available for pre-breeding via coordination with INGENIC. The latter will serve as an organizing mechanism for cacao breeding workshops and for disseminating the proceedings from such workshops. Both parties to this agreement agree to work together to establish an international consortium for the conservation of publicly available cacao genetic resources, to foster research to enhance the conservation, genetic improvement, and sustainable use of this germplasm, and to explore new opportunities to sustainably fund such efforts. Both parties agree to regularly consult each other, either as part of international cocoa meetings (e.g. WCF, ICCO), CacaoNet Steering Committee meetings, or ad hoc, as required.

Last Modified: 07/26/2017
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