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Millennium Seed Bank Project in Namibia - COMPLETED (2010)

A long-term collaborative project with the purpose of enhancing ex situ conservation and sustainable utilisation of plant genetic resources indigenous to Namibia.


Seed collecting at Haalenberg, between Aus and Luderitz, Namibia (Image: A. McRobb, RBG Kew)

The collaboration with Namibia was agreed in 2001, for a 5-year period, and extended for another 5-year period till 2010. The formal partner is the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development (MAWRD), while the actual work has been carried out with the National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (NPGRC) and the National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), both of which are resorting under MAWRD. It was agreed to work together with two main objectives:

  1. to establish an international collaborative project to contribute to the MSBP in achieving its main objective of conserving germplasm of the dry-land flora of the world, and
  2. to assist the NPGRC in its efforts to conserve plant genetic resources of indigenous Namibian plant species. The project formally ended in March 2010, and a follow-up project is being developed.

The collaboration delivered on the following outputs:

  • Germplasm of wild species of arid and semi-arid areas in Namibia are conserved and duplicated at the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst: in the review period the project made 862 collections, representing 722 species new to the seed bank;
  • Personnel in Namibia have been trained in specialised techniques and research and database methodologies;
  • Storage capacity at NPGRC was expanded; and
  • Baseline knowledge on Namibian plant genetic resources has been improved and documented.

Publications since 2006

  • Kolberg, H. (2011). Restoration of mined areas in Namibia’s Sperrgebiet. Samara 20: 4-5.
  • Kolberg, H. (2008). The Millennium Seed Bank Project and its contribution to the rehabilitation of mined areas. Presentation in celebration of the Centenary of the Discovery of Diamonds in Namibia, 28 October 2008, Oranjemund.
  • Kolberg, H. (2007). Contributions by the Millennium Seed Bank Project in Namibia to Target 8 of the GSPC. Samara 13: 8-9.
  • Swanepoel, W. and Kolberg, H. (2011). Abrus kaokoensis (Leguminosae-Papilionoideae-Abreae), a new species from Namibia. South African Journal of Botany 77(3): 613-617.
  • Van Wyk, B.E. and Kolberg, H. (2008). A new species of Lotononis Section Oxydium (Fabaceae, Crotalarieae). South African Journal of Botany 74(4): 750-752.

Watch the video: Safeguarding Namibia's flora

Project partners and collaborators

  • National Plant Genetic Resources Centre (NPGRC)
  • National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI)

Project funders

  • Millennium Commission