CGIAR, Global Crop Diversity Trust Collaborate to Maintain Genebanks

31 January 2013: An agreement between the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium will provide $109 million over five years to establish a new research programme to maintain the 706,000 samples of plant genetic resources held at 11 CGIAR research centers globally.

The CGIAR Research Program for Managing and Sustaining Crop Collections will be central to ensuring that the global network of genebanks continues to function and act as resources to secure global food security. According to CGIAR, the diversity held in these genebanks is central to tackling current and future agricultural challenges related to climate change and pests. CGIAR stresses that it has already distributed over one million samples to plant breeders and researchers over the past decade to help address such issues.

The two entities will complement each other, as the Global Crop Diversity Trust is devoted solely to protecting crop diversity, while CGIAR provides a wide network for collecting and storing plant materials. The Program will be supportive of and consistent with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR). The funds will be used to continue research on advanced preservation techniques such as cryopreservation, as well as for responding to challenges at particular genebanks.

Efforts will also be undertaken to add over 50,000 new samples to genebanks by 2015. In addition, the Program will seek to identify approaches to develop a long-term endowment for the CGIAR genebanks. [CGIAR Press Release] [Global Crop Diversity Trust Press Release] [CGIAR Research Program for Managing and Sustaining Crop Collections]