The Middle East

Two seed collectors standing next to each other, one is holding a large sack open, and the other is holding a seed head from the plant infront of them
Kew staff with colleagues from Jordan's National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension. Photo: Andrew McRobb.

The Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) has been working in the Middle East since 2000 to collect and conserve seeds from this diverse region. With existing partners from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Sea this is a growth area for the Millennium Seed Bank where we are actively creating new partnerships and projects.

Past projects (click project titles for details)

Funder: Global Crop Trust

The Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) in collaboration with the Crop Trust is engaged in a project called Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change. The main objective is to collect, protect and prepare the wild relatives of the world's most important food crops, in a form that plant breeders can readily use to produce varieties adapted to the future climatic conditions that farmers in the developing world will soon be encountering.

The partner for the CWR project in the Middle East was the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute.

Lebanon joined the project in 2015 for three years to make 356 collections of crop wild relatives from across Lebanon. Seed material is now being sent out to pre-breeders.

Further information on this project can be found on the RBG Kew project webpage and the Crop Trust webpage.

Crop Wild Relatives

Funder: Grantham Foundation

This project aimed to collect plants that use C4 photosynthetic pathways, along with C3 sister species, to increase the provision of material for research into the genes and proteins resulting in C4 pathways. The Agricultural Research Organisation of Israel's Volcani Centre (ARO) joined this project in 2016. Over two years, ARO made 155 collections from just over 50 species, exceeding their original target.

MSBP partners in Australia are also involved in the C4 project.

Funder: Arcadia

The Agricultural Research Organisation of Israel's Volcani Centre (ARO) focused on collecting the rare, endangered and medicinal plants of Israel in this two year project which ran from 2018 to 2020. 130 collections were made from 72 different species.

For further information please contact Aisyah Faruk, Conservation Partnership Coordinator at the MSB.