ICRISAT’s Genebank recently observed ‘World Quality Day’ with a session on Quality Management for its staff. The session was held to strengthen processes in line with FAO standards for genebanks.
The Genebank, which is celebrating 40 years of its establishment this year, observed the day on November 14, the second Thursday of the month designated for the day. The day is observed world over in November, which in turn is observed as ‘World Quality Month’. A session by Mr Muzamil Baig, Quality Manager, Genebank, shed light on the concepts that drive quality into processes, including organizing workspaces, along the lines of the ‘5S’ and Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle.
Over the past year, ICRISAT’s Genebank has improved its seed lab, cold room and short-term storage by improving infrastructure, improved space utilization and introduction of machinery. These measures were taken to improve the quality of germplasm conservation.
FAO’s standards cover functioning of genebank activities vis-à-vis seeds, field activities and in-vitro culture preservation. According to FAO, the key principles at the core of genebank operation are, “The preservation of germplasm identity, maintenance of viability and genetic integrity, and the promotion of access.”
Dr Vania Azevedo, Head, Genebank, said efforts are being made to further step-up quality and check processes by reviewing and updating existing standard operating procedures and manuals.
“We are working to implement standards as stipulated by FAO and CGIAR, keeping in line with the international conventions and treaties that genebanks have to comply with,” she said. Continual improvement of quality in genebank through trainings and awareness programs for the staff on quality management are being planned.
Staff from ICRISAT’s regional genebanks in Zimbabwe and Niger also attended the session. To further mark the day, the Genebank held activities for its staff. Suggestions were sought to improve quality and identify risks. The best entries are being awarded. The staff also presented ideas for banners, posters and slogans to push for increased awareness about quality in Genebank.