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We must urgently transform our agrifood systems if we are to resolve the linked, overlapping crises of food and nutrition insecurity, climate change, and loss of biodiversity that humanity faces. Such a transformation will depend on many different actors doing many things differently, but it cannot happen without securing and using the diversity of hundreds of food plants, from our staple grasses to trees of all kinds. Although this diversity is disappearing from many farmers’ fields, it is being conserved in genebanks, from where it can be accessed and used, which enables its benefits to be returned to farmers.

This paper underscores the urgent need for transforming agrifood systems to address global challenges of food insecurity, climate change, and biodiversity loss. The preservation and utilization of food plant diversity, maintained in genebanks, is crucial. Crop diversity, at species and genetic levels, enhances productivity, resilience, sustainability, equity, and health in agrifood systems. We emphasize the importance of empowering genebanks through sustainable funding to drive this transformation.


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