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


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A Call to Action

This was a hot year for our planet; in fact, the hottest on record, for now. We have long known that climate change is the greatest challenge facing agriculture (indeed, farmers have always known this) and 2015 showed us exactly what that challenge feels like. With accelerating climate disruption meeting a monster El Niño, thirty-two major droughts were recorded around the planet. Brazil suffered its worst drought in eighty years. California grew drier than anyone thought possible. Vulnerable Pacific Island states fell into emergency. Southern Africa and South Asia experienced drought, heat wave, and then devastating floods. Millions of acres of crops were destroyed.

Faced with such a year, and with data showing worse to come, I choose to hope. I know plants can adapt, and the intricate cooperation between people and our plants that we call agriculture can also adapt. But this particular source of optimism does not mean we can sit back and watch it happen. It won’t happen without two factors, both of which are our own responsibility.

The first of these factors is crop diversity. There is no adaptation without diversity; in times of rapid change, uniformity is deadly. So it is frankly terrifying to see crop diversity, and indeed wild diversity, disappearing from the face of the earth. I have seen it disappear in my lifetime, and that is why I have been involved with the Crop Trust since it’s beginning more than a decade ago.

The other factor is action. When we call for adaptation, we are using a concept borrowed from our observations of nature. But in nature adaptation is a complex process, and often slow – so slow that much of what we know about it comes from studying the diversity of plants and animals that evolved over truly unimaginable spans of time.

With the world changing before our eyes, we cannot wait. Farmers have never had the luxury of waiting. We, as a species wholly dependent on our few chosen plants, have to take action to adapt them through breeding, and we need to share the basic ingredients of breeding freely with one another.

“No farmer, no country is truly self-sufficient when it comes to crop diversity. This has always been true, but it has never been truer than it is today.”

To me, it has been especially exciting to see the Crop Trust partnering with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and with genebanks and scientists in a great many countries to conserve the variety of crop wild relatives and bring them into use. Through this new diversity we benefit from the robust fruits of natural evolution, strengthening our crops with adaptations hard-won by their cousins in the wind-swept mountains and dust-blown deserts of the world. This needs to happen right now because those mountains and deserts are changing, too. Traits from wild relatives have proven their value many times in the past. We must not risk losing them forever.

“The risks are real and many faceted. They are present now and need to be faced.”

This year, the retrieval of seeds by ICARDA from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault proved the value of keeping a global backup. The safe duplication of ICARDA’s Aleppo genebank in Svalbard prevented a potentially disastrous loss. The terrible war in Syria was impossible to foresee when the blueprints for the Svalbard Seed Vault were first drawn up, but we knew threats to key collections would always be there, whether they could be predicted or not. It was important to be proactive. Taking action secured the ICARDA genebank for our collective future.

“The Crop Trust works on both sides of the task of adaptation – conserving diversity, and acting to put it to use – neither will save agriculture without the other. “

A world that loses diversity loses options for the future, but a world that fails to take action to make the most of those options, for the good of all, is simply giving up. Measured in the contents of crop collections, our options are still in the millions. Please join us in seeing to it they lead to a better world.

Sir Peter Crane FRS Crop Trust Board Member, 2007-2012 and 2014-2016

Dr. Peter Crane

"Professor Sir Peter Crane FRS is Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. His work focuses on the diversity of plant life – its origin, fossil history, current status, conservation and use. From 1999 to 2006 Peter Crane was Director of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew one of the largest, most prestigious and influential botanical gardens in the world. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, a Foreign Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and a Member of the German Academy Leopoldina."

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