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
Crop Wild Relatives
“We know that these fragile looking wild relatives of our domesticated crops hold genetic diversity that could be useful for developing more resilient crop varieties. You only have to see where they grow to know they are hardy plants able to withstand drought, pests and disease. Yet many of them are missing from the world’s genebank collections.”-Marie Haga, Crop Trust Executive Director
Filling this gap is the motivation behind the Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) Project, led by the Crop Trust in collaboration with the Millennium Seed Bank of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2016 has proven to be the most remarkable year yet for the Project, thanks to continued commitment from the Government of Norway and our many other partners.
Finding the Gap
During the initial phase of the CWR Project, we created a world map of crop wild relatives to identify areas where they remain under-collected. This gap analysis, published this year in the journal Nature Plants, mapped 1,076 wild relatives of the world’s 81 most important crops. It was the most comprehensive analysis of global gaps in plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to date, according to co-author Nora Castañeda-Álvarez, and the results revealed significant gaps in the world’s genebanks. More than 95% of the wild relatives are insufficiently represented in genebanks, with 29% totally missing.
“For every CWR that’s not conserved in a genebank and available for research, it means there is one less option for plant breeders to improve the resilience of the food crops we rely on. Our findings give us the clearest idea yet of which plants are missing and where in the world we need to search for them. ”-Colin Khoury, co-author and scientist at CIAT
Filling the Gaps
Guided by the gap analysis, national partners then set out to collect more wild diversity, with technical backstopping from the Millennium Seed Bank and CGIAR Centers. In 2016, collecting agreements were in place with 23 countries, and the first two collecting projects in Italy and Cyprus were completed. A total of 1,512 samples of crop wild relatives, consisting of over 4.5 million seeds, were collected in 14 countries and sent to the Millennium Seed Bank over the course of the year. In total, these represent 23 genera and 119 species and subspecies.
“I am so inspired by the dedication and commitment of our CWR partners. Collecting missions require stamina – getting the required permissions is not easy, and doing the actual collecting in demanding and often unfriendly environments is more than challenging.”-Marie Haga, Crop Trust Executive Director
Preparing for Use
Beyond collecting and conserving crop wild relatives, our partners are already preparing them for use in breeding. This preparation process is called pre-breeding, and is the first step towards producing more resilient crop varieties for the future. 2016 saw the conclusion of some of the first pre-breeding projects we supported, including on rice with partners at Cornell University and IRRI; on sunflower with the University of British Columbia and researchers in Uganda; and on eggplant with partners in Spain, Côte d’Ivoire and Sri Lanka.
“The wealth of pre-bred materials produced in this project is extraordinary and provides a rich resource for further evaluation studies.”-Benjamin Kilian, Crop Trust Plant Genetic Resources Scientist
Sharing the Science
These worldwide efforts generate a lot of information, and we continue to share it with the world through the Crop Wild Relatives website. In 2016, the CWR Project also published two major policy briefs: Measuring the State of Conservation of Crop Diversity, in conjunction with the release of the gap analysis paper, and In Situ and Ex Situ Conservation: Two Sides of the Same Coin, in parallel with the first ever International Agrobiodiversity Congress in New Delhi, India.
Other events this year included CWR seminars in Norway and Australia, and a meeting of the Advisory Group of the Project at the Oak Spring Garden Foundation in Virginia, hosted by the President of the Foundation and Crop Trust Executive Board Member, Sir Peter Crane.
“The future of food fundamentally depends on diverse crops. We all share a common interest in ensuring these plants remain productive and resilient in an era of climate change and rapid environmental perturbation.”-Sir Peter Crane, Crop Trust Executive Board Member