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."

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"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


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Spreading the Message

Who needs 28,000 kinds of maize or 200,000 kinds of rice? The Crop Trust’s mission can seem a bit hard to explain. Yet the continual attention our activities drew over the course of the year proved that people do understand the importance of that mission when facing the biggest issues of today and tomorrow.

In 2015 we welcomed these interested visitors to a completely new Crop Trust website with an interactive map, a dynamic tour of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a busy news center, and an award-winning video, Securing Our Food, Forever. Our 2014 Annual Report won a AWWWARD for Site of the Day. Then we launched an experiment in photographic storytelling with the #CropsInColor campaign, in collaboration with Reportage by Getty Images.

Many other friends and supporters helped us make the case for genebanks. Our new Royal Patron, HRH the Prince of Wales, led the way in speaking out about the essential work to be done. The Directors General of the CGIAR centers voiced strong support with a letter to CGIAR’s donors. Compelling opinion pieces were penned by Professor M.S. Swaminathan in the New Indian Express, Dr Cary Fowler in Korea’s Chosun Daily, and Dr Mahmoud Solh, Director General of ICARDA, on the Crop Trust’s own website.

Media coverage this year was not only widespread, but increasingly deep. Wired, National Geographic, SciDev, Ensia and other outlets produced long and detailed features giving sophisticated explanations of how the global system of genebanks functions and why it’s so important to secure.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was, as usual, a particular focus of media attention and popular interest. This began in February with the deposit of more than 20,000 accessions of crop and tree seeds from USDA, AfricaRice and NordGen. This addition to the Vault’s backup collections featured on the BBC, Wired UK and Wired Japan, Fox News, Yahoo, USA Today, the website of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Germany and more than 20 other outlets in more than 10 countries. In August, more seed deposits from Peru and Costa Rica captured the notice of an astonishing 48 different outlets, leading to stories in 6 languages in 20 different countries of North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. These included a United Nations Radio interview with Senior Scientist Luigi Guarino and a double page spread in the Peruvian newspaper El Peruano.

However, the biggest story of the year wasn’t about what went into Svalbard, but what came out. ICARDA’s retrieval of seeds stored in the vault as a backup of the institute’s collections in Syria was reported across television (NBC, ABC Australia, MSNBC), newspapers (Washington Post, USA Today, Süddeutsche Zeitung), internet (CNN, Wired, Huffington Post), and radio (BBC World Service, NPR) outlets. Everywhere, the story was a beacon of light in a very dark time.

This widespread interest and celebration around the retrieval of the stranded ICARDA seeds from the Arctic was a reminder that the fate of crop diversity is not just an issue for specialists. Ex situ conservation is important for everyone, and more people than ever understand why, though they may not understand the Latin.

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