International Neem Network
Objectives and activities
The long term objectives of the Network are to:
- improve the genetic quality and adaptability of neem to prevailing conditions;
- improve its utilization, throughout the world, as a contribution to development in the countries concerned, in particular in meeting the needs of rural people.
In the initial stage, the main activities of the Network are focused on exploration, collection and exchange of neem germplasm for establishment of international provenance trials. In addition, the Network has set up research components dealing with seed physiology and technology, genetic diversity and reproductive biology, and genetic variation in chemical compounds.
During 1993-94, seed sources were surveyed and documented throughout the natural range of the species and in areas of introduction. Pilot seed collection and exchange were undertaken to improve the procedures of handling and storage of neem seed which has a recalcitrant or intermediate storage behaviour. A training workshop was organised in July 1994, in Coimbatore (India), to familiarize Network collaborators with the procedures for seed collection and exchange.
Following survey and description of 80 seed-sources in the natural distribution of the species and among land races, 27 seed-sources, representative of the eco-geographical zones of the area of distribution in 12 countries, were selected for seed collection, exchanged and sown in nurseries for establishment of provenance trials in approximately 20 sites in 15 countries in 1995, following standardized designs, according to plans set up by a second coordinating meeting held in December 1994.Results of seed exchange and nursery production were addressed at a workshop of the International Neem Network in Bangkok in March 1996. At this meeting guidelines for trial design of international provenance trials were discussed and adopted. In July 1997 experts and National Coordinators of the Neem Network met in a workshop in Yangon, Myanmarto discuss trial establishment, trial assessment and future activities within the network. Surveys were launched in 1999 and 2000 to assess the situation of data recording in the provenance trials. National coordinators met in Jodhpur in March 2001 for aworkshop on data analysis, to report and discuss the state of the trials, present progresses made in data collection and analysis on individual trials and discuss the future activities of the Network. It was decided to work towards a global evaluation of the trials divided into climatic sub-regions and to hold the next meeting of the network within a time frame of two years.