Annual Report 2015

“The Crop Trust is fortunate to have support from across the world.” Marie Haga
Executive Director of the Crop Trust

Key figures

The Crop Trust Seed Vault

Crop Varieties sent from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to Morocco and Lebanon38,073

Varieties available

Varieties available 572,425

Crop Varieties Available in International Collections

Grant Expenditure Provided for Conservation USD 28.4M

Grant Expenditure Provided to Conserve Crop Diversity Globally
USD 28.4M
Training for collecting

Collecting Guides Developed14

Country Specific Collecting Guides for Crop Wild Relatives Developed
Countries receiving variety samples

Countries receiving samples 114

Number of countries receiving samples from Crop Trust supported collections
Variety records added

Grant Expenditure Provided for Gap Filling USD 1.375M

Grant Expenditure provided in support of collecting and conserving crop wild relatives (including capacity building)
USD 1.375M


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Walter Fust

"Crop diversity is one of the defining issues of our times."
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Marie Haga

"The global system we are building together is all at once inspiring, exciting, and absolutely essential."

What we do Pt. 1

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Global Genebank Partnership

"It is both individual and collective genebank efforts that are bringing crop conservation into the twenty-first century."
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Crop Wild Relatives

"An ambitious idea to adapt agriculture has become a reality."
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Svalbard Global Seed Vault

"The Seed Vault made history in 2015 with the first ever seed retrieval."

What we do Pt. 2

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Information Systems

"Managing data within the walls of a genebank, and sharing that data with the world, are two different, but not isolated, challenges."
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Quality Management Systems

"You set new goals as time goes by, so you are on a constant, steady course of improvement."
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Global Strategies

"Building a global system for conservation requires strategic thinking."

The Crop Trust

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"You set new goals as time goes by, so you are on a constant, steady course of improvement."
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Human resources

Being small in number, we depend on the exceptional competence and commitment of our staff.
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"All our governance activities were organized with a dedication to keeping the Crop Trust’s decision-making open."

Take action

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Take action

"A world that loses diversity, loses options for the future."
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Spreading The Message

"Why is it so important to safeguard crop diversity?"
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Thank you

"We often say that we are a small organization with a big job. We don’t mean it as a complaint; that is how we always planned it to be. It means that we don’t need a lot of support, but our mission does."


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Financial Statement

Grants to conserve crop diversity world wide increased in 2015
USD 25.1 Million
USD 28.4 Million


Crop Trust

Securing our food, forever

The Crop Trust is fortunate to have support from across the world all dedicated to the future of food security, agriculture and biodiversity.

The Crop Trust would like to thank the following people for their support for this year’s annual report: Ambassador Walter Fust, Sir Peter Crane, The Crop Trust Staff, the Genebank Managers of the CGIAR, Paul Cox, Epic Agency, Getty Images Reportage.

Platz der Vereinten Nationen 7
53113 Bonn, Germany

Highlights of the year


What we do Pt. 2

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What we do Pt. 2:

Information Systems

Work continues on the information systems that bring together global ex situ conservation, and this year progress started right from the nuts and bolts and hard drives in genebank server rooms. A genebank IT assessment, designed in 2014, was brought to 26 national and regional genebanks in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Data management experts engaged by the Crop Trust visited them over several days to piece together a detailed understanding of information practices and the challenges they bring.

With most of the assessments finished, a pattern has become clear:

“All genebanks recognize the importance of their information – and do their best to manage it with the resources they have. But these resources too often fall short.”

The Crop Trust proceeded to the next step, targeting support to improve data management. Within the year, the national genebanks of Vietnam and Peru and the regional genebanks of Southern Africa (in Zambia) and the Pacific (in Fiji) received funding to meet the priority needs identified in their assessments. More will follow next year.

“Information systems in genebanks are there for the same reasons as in any bank: they help you figure out what you have, and what you need, while ensuring that your information is secure.” -Matija Obreza, Crop Trust Information Systems Manager

A growing number of genebanks are benefitting from GRIN-Global, a flexible information management system for genebanks developed by the United States Department of Agriculture with Crop Trust support. The system became even easier to adopt with the establishment of an International Helpdesk at CIMMYT. Announced in April, the helpdesk answered over 100 queries and calls for assistance in the remainder of 2015. GRIN-Global training courses were organized in Colombia and Bolivia, and the system was presented at meetings of genetic resources experts in Morocco, Colombia and Brazil.

Managing data within the walls of a genebank and sharing that data with the world are two different, but closely linked, challenges. In 2015, GRIN-Global was extended to allow direct publishing of accession passport data from a genebank’s GRIN-Global installation to the Genesys online portal. This functionality is being tested by CIMMYT’s genebank in preparation for a general release. It forms a promising link between these two major information tools.

Genesys itself, which now provides unprecedented access to information on more than 6 million genebank accessions globally, was updated and enhanced. This update resulted from a six-month review of the user experience and interviews with stakeholders. It included completion of translation of the site into eight languages, and a communications campaign to raise awareness of the portal’s potential among genebank users.

Records from USDA-GRIN, EURISCO and most of the CGIAR genebanks were again updated. Other national and regional genebanks are arriving on the portal. The nonprofit organization Seed Savers Exchange shared data on more than 20,000 varieties of tomatoes, beans, lettuce, maize and apples. SPGRC, the food security-critical genebank of the Southern African Development Community, signed the Genesys Data Publishing Agreement. And the national genebank of Japan began the process of making their significant collections discoverable on the portal.

In the meantime, we have an eye on the next horizon of data sharing: the promise of new approaches to exploring and using information on crops’ genetic makeup. DivSeek, an international initiative bringing together 69 organizations in 30 countries, promises to do just that. The groundbreaking partnership was launched in January at a Partners’ Assembly in San Diego, California, where a DivSeek Charter was adopted and a group of international experts elected to a Steering Committee. In May, the Steering Committee met in Rome to review the state of the art in genomic, phenomic, molecular and bioinformatics tools and strategies, and drew up a multi-year strategy and work plan that will blaze a trail for this community-driven effort in the years ahead.

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