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Kew and Kenyan partners go seed collecting for wild relatives of aubergine, rice and yam

Watch our 'fly on the wall' documentary, produced by Al Jazeera, and follow Tim Pearce and Paul Kirika in Kenya, as they secure vital seed collections for the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership.

Giant groundsels (Dendrosenecio) are icons of the Afromontane flora

Despite a dodgy Land Rover and nervous news reports, Tim Pearce and Paul Kirika bagged important seeds for our future in their recent Kenyan field trip. Acquiring the wild relatives of modern day crops is vital if we are to produce new crop strains, resistant to climate change.

Alongside seed collecting for the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, the team also uncovered some striking botanical icons from the Afromontane flora and discussed some of the most pressing issues affecting plant conservation in Kenya.


Paul Kirika is the son of the famous Kenyan botanist, the late Mzee Kajui. Paul works for the East African Herbarium and is considered one of the most knowledgeable field botanists in East Africa.

Tim Pearce works for Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and has been botanising with Paul for over two decades.

About the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is the largest ex situ plant conservation project in the world.

Paul Kirika and Tim Pearce; passionate about plants

(RBG Kew)

Our focus is on global plant life faced with the threat of extinction and on plants of most use for the future. The seeds we save are conserved outside their native habitat.

Working with our network of partners across 50 countries, we have successfully banked 10% of the world's wild plant species. With your help, we are going to save 25% by 2020. We target plants and regions most at risk from climate change and the ever-increasing impact of human activities.

Watch the video and read the film makers view on Al Jazeera's website

Get involved - Adopt a Seed, Save a Species

Without plants there could be no life on earth, and yet every day another four plant species face extinction. Too often when we hear these kinds of statistics there seems little that we can do as individuals, but thanks to the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership and the Adopt a Seed, Save a Species campaign there is something that you can do to ensure the survival of a plant species.

Adopt a seed for just £25 | Save a plant species outright

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1 August 2012
That is what is so important about seed collecting of the wild relatives of rice and yams. If a disease develops that threatens the domestic crop, then there is a gene pool to draw from to create new varieties that are resistant. This condition can also apply to creating varieties that can withstand climatic change.