The division has the responsibility of conserving both orthodox (cold storage) and recalcitrant germplasm Field gene bank and in-vitro conservation) in the best possible condition and to make them available to use.
The broad research programmes consist of: Eco-geographic survey, inventory and germplasm collection; characterization, evaluation and genetic resources enhancement for quality, yield and tolerant/resistance to pest and disease; development of clonal propagation techniques with the view of finding the most suitable propagation methods for potential underutilized plants to support the commercialization drive.
- Field gene bank management: Introduction of more indigenous and exotic fruit and species and improve the quality of planting materials of those that are capable of producing high and good quality fruits and species.
- Seed conservation: The objective of seed conservation is to determine seed behaviour and to improve the quality and viability of germplasm in cold storage through investigating seed storage with respect to desiccation, moisture levels, viability test, accelerated ageing tests and dormancy. Documentation of passport data and germplasm management issues including viability monitoring, moisture level determination and regeneration regimes and to develop core collection of the various crops for effective distribution.
- In-Vitro Conservation: To produce disease-free plantlets of root and tuber crops and the development of various protocols for free crops.