Annual Report 2016
"2016 was one of the most iconic years in the organization’s history to date."Marie Haga
Executive director of the Crop Trust
Crop varieties added+43K
Crop Wild Relatives collected1,5K
Grants provided for conservationUSD 32,4M
Contributions+ USD 23,9M
Updated accessions in Genesys2,1M
Crop accessions distributed72K
Countries receiving samples102
"We on the Executive Board certainly felt the energy this year, and also the heat."
"Vavilov's insight, that crops are citizens of the world, still holds the power to inspire."
What we do
Global Genebank Partnership
The Crop Trust is building an effective, sustainable global system to conserve the world’s crop diversity forever.
Quality Management Systems
“If you’re a genebank, however small, you need a quality management system. You can’t leave anything to chance. Seeds are too precious.”
Crop Wild Relatives
"The future of food fundamentally depends on these plants, and we all share a common interest in ensuring their productivity and resilience."
What we do
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
“In a rapidly changing world, it’s wonderful to see a renewed commitment from partners to safeguard their resources in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault."
“It doesn’t help to have the most perfect crop collections in the world, if no one knows what they contain. That is why information systems are so important.”
The result of global conservation strategies is an improved understanding of threats to diversity and an actionable strategy for progress.
The Crop Trust
“The Crop Trust is very fortunate to benefit from a multifaceted and inclusive governance structure.”
The Crop Trust is committed to securing our food, together.
"2016 was one of the most iconic years in the organization’s history to date. I am extremely proud of the strides we made in growing our ever-important network of partners."
The effects of climate change put crop diversity front and center. Diverse crops enable farmers to provide adequate food and nutrition, not only for their families but for others as well.
Spreading the message
It matters not what continent we live in, nor where our favorite crop comes from – e.g. maize from Mesoamerica, rice from Southeast Asia, wheat from the Fertile Crescent. We all eat. And we all benefit from crop diversity.
We are deeply grateful for all contributions and pledges of all sizes because they show the continued power of the hope we all share, a hope for a food secure world.
Grants to conserve crop diversity world wide increased in 2016
Securing our food, forever
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 7
The Crop Trust is fortunate to have support from across the world all dedicated to realizing one common vision: a food secure world.
The Crop Trust would like to thank the following people for their support for this year’s annual report: Ambassador Walter Fust, Mary Ann Sayoc, the Crop Trust Staff, Scriptoria, Epic Agency, In Fine Co/Creative Agency and Getty Images Reportage.
53113 Bonn, Germany
Letter from the Executive Director
I sat down at all sorts of tables and desks with a great many partners, colleagues and dear friends this year, but on one day in summer I sat at a particularly special desk. It was in St. Petersburg, Russia, and it once belonged to the visionary scientist Nikolai Vavilov.
We owe so much to Dr. Vavilov’s work: in the early twentieth century he identified the true importance of diversity in crops, where to find it, and what could be achieved with it.
Our work at the Crop Trust, including our support for the vast global collection of seeds now backed up in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, still follows the light provided by his insights. And today the N.I.Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry, with its amazing collection of more than 325,000 accessions of crops, is a partner we are honored to have.
This work of ours consists of two rather enormous tasks. On the one hand, we are racing to conserve vanishing crop diversity and put it to use in a collaborative global system that will ensure the world’s future food security. On the other hand, we are building an endowment to fund that global system, forever.
If we can look back and say we made progress in both jobs, we can call that a good year. And 2016 was a very good year.
On the operational side, we reached the conclusion of our five-year partnership with the CGIAR System Organization to manage and support the international crop collections and prepared for next year’s seamless transition into an even stronger collaboration, the new Genebank Platform (2017-2022). We also signed technical agreements with national partners in countries that are each, in their own way, very significant in the world of crop diversity: Brazil, Chile, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Japan and Norway.
We co-funded the construction of an expanded genebank in Terbol, Lebanon, for the collections of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), giving a new home to diversity of the world’s most important dryland crops. This was especially wonderful to see because some of the material going into this genebank was brought back from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, where seeds had been backed up from ICARDA’s original collection near Aleppo, Syria.
Many other partners of ours were out collecting new diversity of crop wild relatives from some very remote places, as this phase of our Crop Wild Relatives Project reached its peak. Collecting partnerships with 23 countries are feeding these valuable sources of adaptability into national and international genebanks, while other participants are working with these wild plants to bring their special traits to the task of climate-proofing our food crops.
At the very end of the year, we hosted some of the world’s leading conservation scientists from four continents for an expert consultation on how to measure the coverage and richness of genebank collections. This was an important step in bringing the community of genebanks together to address the challenge of assessing quantitatively how well conserved crop gene pools actually are ex situ.
These activities and many others depend on the other side of our work: building an endowment to fund critically important crop collections forever. This is where we really saw how Vavilov’s insight, that crops are citizens of the world, still holds the power to inspire.
In a challenging environment for international action, we held a successful Pledging Conference that has propelled us towards doubling the size of the endowment fund. The details of the many contributions we received from like-minded partners at, and after, this event can be found in the Events panel of this Annual Report. And as to our financial performance in 2016, we are also glad to report that we managed to earn a solid return on our endowment fund while at the same time transitioning to two new investment managers.
As I say goodbye, let me offer heartfelt and unreserved thanks to all of our partners, and to everyone working for the future of crop diversity – in 2016, 2017, and many, many years to come.