Genetic Crops Current Affairs - 2020

Rare Palm from Andaman replanted in Kerala: To prevent its Extinction

A rare palm from South Andaman Island has found its second home in Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI) Kerala. The species has been brought to the Indian mainland to prevent its extinction.


The rare palm is called Pinanga andamanensis and is a critically endangered species. There are only 600 specimens of the species at present. It is tiny and generally grows in evergreen forests.

The JNTBGRI has ensured to conserve the germplasm of the tree. This will help to prevent the species from wiping out. It is endangered due to natural calamity.

The palm resembles areca palm and is used in preparing palm oil.

About the palm

The palm requires 5 t 6 hours of sunshine, 80% of humidity. It thrives well in areas where the temperature is between 22 degree Celsius and 24 degree Celsius.

The name of the palm is derived from the modern Malaysian state called ‘Penang’. The species was thought to be extinct till 1992.

What is Germplasm?

Germplasm is the living resources like tissue and seeds that are preserved for plant breeding. They can also be used are genetic resources.

India attends International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

India attended the eighth session of the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) at Rome, Italy. Agriculture Minister Shri Narendra Tomar attended the session representing India.

The Treaty is in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity. The treaty was negotiated through FAO.

About the session

  • The Governing sessions of the treaty are biennial.
  • Around 146 countries participated in the session
  • International organizations such as FAO, UN were also part of the session

About the Treaty

It is also known as the “Seed Treaty”. It is an international agreement to ensure food security by exchange of world’s plant genetic resources of food and agriculture. It also aims at conservation and sustainable use of seed varieties


The International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is based on the following principles

  • Countries depend on plant genetic resources to produce food
  • To provide a broad integrated global system that will provide easy access of genetic materials to scientists, farmers and plant breeders
  • To help farmers on crop selection that adapts to unpredictable environmental changes and human needs.

The treaty provides a list of 64 crop species and their facilitated access.

India’s Nodal Agencies of the Treaty

In India, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation is the nodal agency that fulfills the objective of the treaty. However, the ministry responsible to fulfil the treaty is Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as the guidelines of the treaty are completely based on environment resilience.

India’s Legislation

The Indian laws that abide by the treaty are as follows

  • Protection of plant varieties and farmers rights act
  • Biological Diversity Act, 2002. Along with the treaty, the act is also pursuant to India’s commitment towards United Nation Convention on Biological Diversity.