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Rising to meet the challenges of our ever-changing world

Key figures

Diversity safety duplicated+82K

Seed samples added to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in 202082,501

Diversity data generated13

New crop-specific databases added in 202013

Grants provided for conservationUSD 30.9M

Grants were provided to fund conservation in 2020USD 30.9 million

Contributions to future diversityUSD 17.9M

Millions contributed to the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund in 2020USD 17.9 million

Diversity conserved736 K

Crop diversity samples managed by CGIAR genebanks as of 2020736,210

Diversity recorded3.3M

Records of genebank samples updated in Genesys in 20203,366,048

Diversity shared43K

Crop diversity samples distributed by CGIAR genebanks in 202043,530

Countries receiving samples78

Countries received crop diversity samples from CGIAR genebanks in 202078


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Sir Peter Crane – Executive Board Chair, Crop Trust

When we look back over the achievements and challenges of 2020, we cannot ignore the profound and ongoing effect of COVID-19. As this crisis demonstrates, humanity cannot afford to become complacent.
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Stefan Schmitz – Executive Director, Crop Trust

No aspect of the Crop Trust’s work in 2020 was left untouched by the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What we did

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A Decade of Wild Genetic Diversity

We’re already seeing the CWR Project’s benefits for smallholder and subsistence farmers. In China, Kazakhstan and Chile, for example, fields are flourishing with drought-tolerant varieties of alfalfa.
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At the Cutting Edge of Pre-breeding

This project is using exciting new methods and tools, like speed breeding and genomics, to revolutionize the breeding of improved varieties of neglected crops, which will get climate-smart crops into the hands of smallholder farmers more quickly.
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Delivering CWR-derived Varieties into Farmers’ Hands

Pre-breeding aims to isolate desired genetic traits from crop wild relatives and introduce them into breeding lines that are more readily crossable with modern seeds. Under the Crop Wild Relatives Project, new pre-bred lines are being evaluated under field conditions with breeders and farmers.

What we did

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Safer Genebanks Today and Tomorrow

Genebanks faced major challenges in 2020, but, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of genebank staff, collections of crop diversity under the CGIAR Genebank Platform remain safe.
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Strengthening Genebanks in Africa

Even amid the immense challenges of pandemic lockdowns, Seeds for Resilience partners enthusiastically embraced the goal of strengthening their operations to safeguard unique crop diversity.
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A Growing Bank of Knowledge

Building information systems that truly serve genebank technicians, curators, breeders and researchers is a key aspect of improving the global system for ex situ conservation

COVID-19 Effects

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Pivoting to Digital-First Communications

All Crop Trust events in 2020 swiftly switched to digital, the team focused on increased outreach through partnerships with high-reach platforms to expand their reach and deliver messages to key audiences and communities. Participation in high-reach digital events increased views and reach substantially and, at the same time, dramatically cut travel and conference expenditures.
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COVID-19 Effects

To maintain critical activities in 2020 under COVID-19 restrictions, our project partners were forced to take extraordinary measures—with some leaving family to stay on-site at their workplaces, ensuring that vulnerable plant materials and ongoing experiments would be looked after. It is because of these individual and collective sacrifices that project activities were able to continue at all in 2020.
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Rising to the Occasion from Home

Shifting to remote work and dealing with rapidly changing COVID-19 restrictions certainly shook us all up—but it has also been a tremendous opportunity to rethink our old processes and mindset so we can continue to evolve as an organization.

Securing Our Food Forever

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Funding Crop Diversity in Perpetuity

The Endowment Fund is an exciting idea to provide a sustainable, long-term financing mechanism and make possible the Crop Trust’s important work of safeguarding crop diversity in perpetuity.
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Innovative Finance

In 2020, the Innovative Finance Working Group focused primarily on developing a Food Security Bond (FSB) concept, and a feasibility study on the FSB was carried out.
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Looking Ahead: Responsible Investing

The Crop Trust considers integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns into its investment process to be an important part of its investment strategy, and one that supports its broader mission and objectives.


Crop Trust

Securing our food, forever

Highlights of the year