DuPont Pioneer is continuing its collaboration with the Global Crop Diversity Trust to conserve and make available some of the world’s most important food crops. Citing the critical need for crop diversity at a time when populations are soaring and climate change is threatening staple crops such as maize, DuPont Pioneer has committed $250,000 to the trust, in a renewable agreement for up to four years. The pledge was announced during the Crop Trust’s Pledging Conference, which took place at the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C. Ms. Marie Haga, Executive Director of the Crop Trust, discussed the role of the Crop Trust in helping to establish and fund a global system for the conservation and availability of crop diversity. “In just 10 years, we will have 1 billion more people at the global dinner table,” Ms. Haga said. “Our best hedge against disaster is to make sure we have a wide array of diversity within crops at our disposal to keep harvests healthy in the bread baskets of the world.”
The funds committed to the Crop Trust will be channeled through the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund. Each year, a portion of the fund’s value is paid out to ensure conservation and maintenance of crop diversity held in seed banks around the world. The Crop Trust manages a comprehensive program of long- and short-term support for gene banks, such as the current collaboration with Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CCIAR) centers, including the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture. “Seed banks ultimately help safeguard a global food supply, as wars and natural disasters can decimate an area’s crops,” said Jerry Flint, vice president of industry affairs and regulatory, DuPont Pioneer. “DuPont Pioneer is collaborating with the Crop Trust to secure millions of diverse seed samples, which will be essential for breeding plants that contribute to farmers’ long-term success and feed a growing population.”
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 gene banks is by nature a very 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.
International crop collections receiving Crop Trust long-term funds are obligated to make their genetic resource collections accessible and available to the world in accordance with the relevant international agreements, including the Convention on Biodiversity and the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
DuPont Pioneer first collaborated with the Crop Trust in 2002, and, most recently, sponsored the Crop Trust’s #CropsInColor campaign, which is carried out in collaboration with Getty Images Reportage. The campaign visually highlights and celebrates the role this diversity plays in our lives. A video of maize diversity can be seen here. “Conserving and making crop diversity available provides options,” concluded Ms. Haga. “One of these options might just save the future of agriculture and the future of the food we eat. We encourage all governments and private sector companies working in agriculture to take the step DuPont Pioneer has to protect our food, forever.”
The Crop Trust
- Is an essential funding element of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, adhered to by 133 countries worldwide.
- Spearheaded the biggest biological rescue operation ever of nearly 80,000 crop varieties while working with more than 100 institutions in more than 80 countries.
- As well as national governments, it has a number of high-profile supporters, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
- Together with the Government of Norway and NordGen, manages and funds the ongoing work of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault: a safe and secure vault for 860,000 samples of crops from all over the world.
- Is described through a short film on its work here.
DuPont Pioneer is the world’s leading developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics, providing high-quality seeds to farmers in more than 90 countries. Pioneer provides agronomic support and services to help increase farmer productivity and profitability and strives to develop sustainable agricultural systems for people.