The mission of the Crop Trust is to ensure the conservation and availability of crop diversity for food security worldwide. Crop diversity is central to food security. It underpins today’s production and provides the raw material needed for ensuring continuing supplies tomorrow, in the face of a rapidly changing world. Since 2004, we have been safeguarding the building blocks of agriculture.
The Crop Trust was founded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) (www.fao.org/home/en/) and Bioversity International on behalf of the CGIAR (https://www.cgiar.org/). The Crop Trust is headquartered from Bonn.
Crop collections require constant maintenance and even brief disruptions or variations in funding can leave material at risk of permanent loss. The conservation of crop diversity in genebanks is a long-term task. Only stable, predictable support from an endowment fund can guarantee a global system of conservation for a shared resource that is too important for anything less than perpetual care. The Crop Trust is building an endowment fund, 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. The value of the endowment fund as at 31 December 2019 amounted to USD 312.8m paid in (including a concessional loan). Donors to the Crop Trust include governments from developing and developed countries, foundations, the private sector and individuals. 95% of the endowment contributions received have been provided by Governments.
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 over one million duplicates of the world’s seed collections are being stored, originating from every country on earth.