Agriculture depends on a small number of crops – just three (wheat, rice and maize) provide two-thirds of the world’s food energy intake. Each crop, however, comes in a vast range of different forms. It is this diversity which allows a crop like rice, for example, to grow in conditions as varied as paddy fields submerged in Laos or semi-arid conditions in Mali. Diversity helps crops cope in their response to disease, extremes of temperature, or to offer different nutritional qualities. Taste and appearance are the qualities that most consumers are most aware of, but in reality variation can be found in almost every characteristic. And when it cannot, it can often be found in the wild relatives of the crop.
The Trust aims, ultimately, to ensure the conservation of the diversity within all crops of importance. However, we focus on a number of priority crops which are particularly important for food security.