Distribution of forage legume genetic resources

Contributors to this page: ILRI, Ethiopia (Jean Hanson); ICARDA, Syria (Ahmed Amri, Kenneth Street, Ali Shehadeh, Natalya Rukhkyan); GRCTPL, Australia (Richard Snowball); Bioversity International/ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Alexandra Jorge).

Policies and regulations

Policies and regulations for distribution

Common policies on distribution and access to plant material

Policy exceptions

National laws and regulations

It is essential to follow the terms and conditions in the host country agreements:

International laws and regulations

Phytosanitary regulations

User related issues for distribution

Feedback to users

Describes factors that can influence the delivery of the plant material:

Describes recommended procedures that ensure the material distributed matches the client request:

Feedback from users

Describes the most relevant information required to be received from users:

Quantity of material recommended to be distributed

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Procedures for distribution

Checking availability

Availability in stock

Checking passport data

Preparing accessions for distribution

Registering the request

Preparing lists of accessions available

Checking requirements for Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs)

Generating labels for accessions

Labelling the accession containers

Removing containers from the genebank and acclimatization procedures required

Assuring accuracy in identification


Check packets against lists to avoid errors (photo: ILRI)

Extracting samples from the original containers

Preparing the information list to accompany the plant material

The following basic information is important for the user

Cover letter:

Dispatching the plant material



Packing seeds for distribution (photo: ILRI)

Reply form

Sending the plant material

Recording shipping details

Updating the genebank inventory

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Recording information

The following information must be recorded for each consignment:

System for tracking material/inventory system for distribution

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References and further reading

Agreement sample form. Download document.

Frison EA, Bos L, Hamilton RI, Mathur SB, Taylor JD, editors. 1990. FAO/IBPGR Technical Guidelines for the Safe Movement of Legume Germplasm. Available here.

List of crops covered under the multilateral system Annex I.

Standard Material Transfer Agreement (ITPGRFA, SGRP)

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture [homepage of theITPGRFA] [online]. Available from:

The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.