Central Agricultural Office, Institute of Agrobotany

Central Agricultural Office, Institute of Agrobotany

The history of the institute dates back to 1885, when Lajos Szelényi donated his land plots in Tápiószele to the National Hungarian Economic Federation. The foundation that was set up to manage the land served the purpose of propagating professional skills as well as to teach farmers the practical application of the gathered experiences.

The improvement institutes accumulated a large quantity of basic materials at the middle of the last century. Several years later, these collections of species resulted in gene source collections and gene banks in order to preserve the rich forms and the genetic diversity of cultivated plants.

The first, cooled seed store of the institute was erected in the seventies, and preparations were started to build a gene bank at an international level. The Convention on Biological Diversity adopted at the Environmental World Conference in Rio once again focused the attention to the importance of biological diversity, and offered the opportunity to pursue activities related to the preservation and the use of genetic power sources. This is when the Institute of Agrobotany became the basic Hungarian institute for the gene source protection of cultivated plants. From 2007, the Central Agricultural Office has been carrying out its activities as an individual unit in order to search and protect the genetic power sources of cultivated plants. The Office has collections and genetic reserve samples of all crops and vegetables that are, or can be grown in Hungary.

The well-organised and effective gene bank is the basic, strategic part of sustainable agricultural production. The cultivated plant genetic power sources have become one of the most important natural power sources through the increased demand on food safety and on foods of high content value, as well as through the development of the improvement methods.

The expertise of the colleagues at the Institute of Agrobotany - based on a hundred years' experience - guarantees that Hungarian gene resources of local and European importance can be preserved for the nearer and further future within the framework of a well-organised national programme and wide international cooperation.