Agricultural Biodiversity and Water: Less Rain, More Grain
The Crop Trust, with the support of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, will host a Luncheon of Ministers of Agriculture on 20 January 2017 in Berlin, alongside the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA).
In line with the theme for the GFFA 2017 event – Agriculture and Water – the Ministerial Luncheon will discuss the role of agricultural biodiversity in coping with water shortage. Highlights include: the effects of climate change on water availability, the urgency of adapting agriculture’s use of water to a changing climate, and the work that the Crop Trust and its partners are undertaking to achieve this.
The event serves to inform governments about the urgent need to conserve crop diversity as well as draw on this resource for crop improvement in order to increase the quantity and quality of the food we produce in the face of a growing world population and a changing climate.
The event will make the case for allocating government financial resources to protect agro-biodiversity in plant genebanks at the national and international level, including by funding institutions such as ICRISAT and the Crop Trust and supporting international advocacy efforts to protect agro-biodiversity.
Agricultural Biodiversity and Water
Climate change will make many parts of the world hotter and drier, with new pests and diseases emerging and with more unpredictable weather and extreme weather events.
Crop diversity in the form of seeds and other materials conserved in genebanks provides vital options for agriculture to both cope with water shortage and use available water efficiently. The world’s diversity of agricultural crops is essential for developing improved food plants that require less water and have a higher tolerance to drought. Such improved crop varieties contribute to:
- Adapting agriculture to generally drier and hotter conditions
- Slowing desertification and protecting water reservoirs in arid zones
- Conserving scarce water supplies in drylands by requiring less irrigation
- Protecting groundwater quality by requiring less agricultural chemicals
- Adapting agriculture to coastal flooding and higher salinity levels due to rising sea levels
and much, much more.
The Keynote presentation will be given by Dr. David Bergvinson, Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Other presentations and remarks will be given by Mr. Peter Bleser, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Germany; a senior management representative of Bayer Crop Science, event sponsor; and Ms. Marie Haga, Executive Director of the Crop Trust.