The mission of the Crop Trust is to ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide. Donors to the Crop Trust include governments from developing and developed countries, foundations, the private sector and individuals.
The Crop Trust is building an endowment, the recurring income from which will be sufficient to guarantee the conservation and the ready availability of the biological foundation of all major agricultural crops, forever. It currently has $255 million paid in (including a concessional loan) from a wide array of donors with a current endowment fund value of approximately $285m as at 31 December 2017. Financial backing has been received from 20 countries, ranging from Ethiopia, Egypt and India to Australia, Norway, Germany and the U.K., from major corporations (Pioneer/DuPont), private foundations (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and farmers’ groups.
To date over USD 29.5 million has been disbursed from the endowment fund on our long-term grants with the international research centers that hold the international crop collections. The endowment fund also contributes to the operational costs of running the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, in conjunction with our partners (the Government of Norway and the Nordic Gene Resource Centre, “NordGen”). The support provided by the fund comes solely from investment income earned, so that the actual endowment funds are not drawn on. The fund allows the Crop Trust to fulfil its purpose: to create a permanent legacy of support for the key international collections of critical importance to our food supply.
Principal Activities of the Crop Trust Include:
1. Rescuing the seeds in endangered national crop collections;
2. Funding the ongoing maintenance of vital global crop collections;
3. Documenting the characteristics of conserved seeds so that collections are useful for plant breeders;
4. Sponsoring and improving global information systems for managing and sharing crop genetic data, massively enhancing access, and therefore options, for plant breeders everywhere. Part of this work is being done in collaboration with USDA;
5. Funding of the ultimate safety back-up facility—the Svalbard Global Seed Vault deep in the Arctic permafrost—in which currently 930,000 duplicates of the world’s seed collections are being stored, originating from every country on earth.