ANNUAL REPORT 2019
Celebrating 15 years of crop diversity conservation
Crop varieties added+34K
Food Forever Experiences9
Grants provided for conservation$34.2M
ContributionsUSD 6 M
Accessions Conserved714 K
Updated accessions in Genesys4M
Crop accessions distributed66K
Countries receiving samples97
Sir Peter Crane – Executive Board Chair, Crop Trust
As we transition into a new phase of our work, we can do so confident in our ability to deliver on the vision of our founders.
Stefan Schmitz – Executive Director, Crop Trust
The importance of the global family of genebanks as fail-safes for our planet’s future food supply has never been so apparent.
What we do
The CGIAR Genebank Platform
This Crop Trust-led program ensures that the 11 CGIAR genebanks are running efficiently, that the crop collections they manage are conserved to a high standard, and that as many samples as possible are immediately available when needed.
Collecting Crop Wild Relatives
After six years, 4,644 seed samples of 371 different species of crop wild relatives from all over the world were collected and safeguarded.
Wild Seed, I Think I Love You
The work with crop wild relatives is transitioning from creating new materials to actually growing them in farmers' fields.
What we do
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is an iconic reminder of the remarkable effort taking place around the world to conserve the seeds of our food crops.
Supporting National Genebanks
Five genebanks in sub-Saharan Africa are the focus of a new Crop Trust project: Seeds4Resilience.
Strengthening information systems allows users to choose the exact crop diversity they need from thousands of samples.
Securing our Food, Forever
Our global crop conservation strategies describe the current status of conservation of major crop collections, and they attempt to identify the highest priority activities and resources required to safeguard the diversity of different genepools.
The Food Forever Initiative
Food Forever went around the world in 2019 – on a gastronomic and educational voyage – to celebrate the diversity of our foods.
An overview of the activities of the Crop Trust Executive Board and Donors’ Council.
Spreading the Message
Our audience is as diverse as the crop diversity we help safeguard.
Some of humanity’s most valuable global assets are being preserved in perpetuity so future generations can have diverse, healthy foods in increasingly unpredictable climatic conditions.
The Crop Trust deeply appreciates the support and commitment from its many donors, without whom none of our work would be possible.
Running the Numbers
A summary of the financial performance of the Crop Trust and its endowment fund.
Wild Seed, I Think I Love You
“It is farmers who will plant in their fields the seeds coming out of our projects . So, we are turning to them to lend their voices, knowledge and experience.”-Benjamin Kilian, Senior Scientist Plant Genetic Resources, Crop Trust
The CWR Project’s pre-breeding work has brought together more than 100 national and international partners in 49 countries. All projects have strong capacity-building elements and involve both North-South and South-South partnerships.
The work is transitioning from creating new materials derived from CWR to actually growing them in farmers’ fields. This allows researchers to obtain production data from various locations and enables farmers to evaluate new material and communicate their preferences to scientists.
The most promising pre-bred material, and their associated data, will be available under the terms of the Plant Treaty.
Impact in the field
Alfalfa: A CWR-derived alfalfa variety has survived record cold snaps in Inner Mongolia and is also drought tolerant. This variety, Zhongcao No. 3, was released to farmers in 2019. The Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) is developing a participatory seed multiplication project with smallholder farmers who will be able to keep, use and sell the seeds of Zhongcao No. 3 as part of a new seed sharing scheme.
Cowpea: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has identified CWR in Africa that have more tolerance to heat and drought and resistance to aphids than the domesticated cowpea. They have crossed the best of these CWR with high-performing cowpeas and evaluated a number of promising climate-smart lines in Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Niger.
Durum wheat: Initial results coming from the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) indicate that CWR-derived lines of durum wheat are performing better than currently available commercial varieties in terms of both yields and quality. Farmers throughout Morocco are evaluating this material, and reporting that they believe some lines are drought-tolerant.
More on Pre-Breeding
A helping hand for grasspea and finger millet
“The Templeton project allows us to build on the work of the CWR Project for two crops badly in need of a funding boost.”-Benjamin Kilian, Senior Scientist Plant Genetic Resources, Crop Trust
Grasspea and finger millet are prized for their nutritional value and ability to survive temperature extremes, drought and poor soil. A new project funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation, Inc. will help improve the productivity of these crops.
The diversity needed to improve the yield and nutritional quality of grasspea and finger millet and adapt them to changing climatic conditions is limited. However, In recent years, pre-breeders supported by the CWR Project have expanded diversity by tapping into wild and ancient domesticated forms of these crops. With the Templeton Project, the activities of the CWR project will be expanded to other countries.
A second element of the Templeton project aims to explore new, innovative avenues of funding to contribute to the further development of the Crop Trust’s endowment fund.
The three-year project, Safeguarding crop diversity for food security: Pre-breeding complemented with Innovative Finance, began in August 2019.
African rice beats the heat
“This is a clear example of how conserving crop diversity for the long term, and studying it, can help us to adapt our food crops to new challenges.”-Benjamin Kilian, Senior Scientist Plant Genetic Resources, Crop Trust
African rice flowers at dawn and goes through its reproductive cycle before the day begins. Early morning temperatures have risen, exposing the crop to stressful conditions. A Crop Trust project, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF), set out to find types of African rice which would flower earlier in the morning, and thus beat the heat.
Scientists and pre-breeders at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), based in Côte d’Ivoire, systematically explored the collection of rice diversity conserved in the center’s genebank.
After two years of recording data on more than 2,000 samples grown in controlled field conditions, the team at AfricaRice identified 15 samples that flowered earlier in the morning, providing a goldmine of genetic diversity for rice breeders. Breeders will now be able to use them in their efforts to develop high yielding, heat-tolerant African rice varieties.