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Best of 2022: Celebrating Crop Diversity

Rice fields.Harvest of upland rice. Cao Phong District, Hoa Binh, Vietnam. (Photo: Michael Major/Crop Trust)

21 December 2022

The importance of our planet's biodiversity – and its crop diversity – has never been more clear.

This past year has shown time and again the urgency of both conserving crop diversity and using it to develop climate-resilient agriculture globally.

The Crop Trust and its partners have been at the forefront of these efforts. Here's a look back at some of the memorable moments in 2022, from media mentions highlighting the role of crop diversity, to blogs sharing our work and opinion pieces by scientists, chefs and more. 

Read on for our year in review. 

Best of Blogs

Take a Look Inside the Latest Svalbard Global Seed Vault Deposit

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault reopened for the first time in 2022 with a deposit by 10 genebanks from around the world. In total, they stored 39 boxes containing 20,443 samples within, bringing the Seed Vault’s total count to 1,145,862 samples. February 2023 will mark the 15-year anniversary of this iconic site.

In Photos: What It Takes to Operate a National Genebank

Take a look inside the National Plant Genetic Resource Centre (NPGRC) in Zambia, a national genebank that holds more than 6,000 samples including regionally significant plant species and crop wild relatives. National genebanks are an essential part of conserving crop diversity.

Crop Science Honors Research on Crop Wild Relatives

Two research studies conducted as part of the Crop Trust’s Crop Wild Relatives (CWR) Project have won awards for excellence after appearing in a special issue of the U.S. journal Crop Science last year.

What is a Genebank?

Learn the ins and outs of genebanks and their essential role in conserving crop diversity.

Food For a Curious Mind: Damaris Odeny on a Career in Agricultural Science

Learn about Damaris Achieng Odeny, a plant geneticist from Kenya who works at the regional office of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Nairobi.

Best of Media Mentions

Seed Banks: the Last Line of Defense Against a Threatening Global Food Crisis

Genebanks conserve crop diversity, which is a vital part of global food security. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was designed to safeguard diversity stored in genebanks across the globe that are vulnerable to war, natural disaster and funding scarcity. 

Global Food Crisis is Leaving Millions Hungry, But There are Solutions

The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the stress on the already strained global food system causing hundreds of millions of people to go hungry. Solutions to this crisis require urgent action. 

Ukraine's Giant Seed Bank at Risk of Being Lost as War Rages

The national genebank of Ukraine is under threat due to the war. This is another example of the vulnerability of genetic diversity stored in genebanks across the globe, and why the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is an essential tool for preserving crop diversity.

Climate Change Is Shifting How Plants Evolve. Seed Banks May Have to Adapt, Too

By studying the changes in wild field mustard, researchers documented evolution, likely in response to human-caused climate change, in real-time.

Food Prices Are on the Rise – And the Global South Will Be Hit Hardest

“The window of opportunity is closing. The longer we leave it, the more crop diversity we lose, and the harder it will be to cope with climate shocks, price spikes and instability,” says Crop Trust Executive Director Stefan Schmitz in an opinion piece for the Independent.

Crop Diversity Day

2022 marked the first Crop Diversity Day, a day dedicated to the importance of agrobiodiversity and critical issues facing our food systems. 

GLF Climate 2022

Hosted digitally and in Sharm El Sheikh, the GLF Climate hybrid conference calls for ambitious, concrete action to stop the climate crisis. Speakers included leading scientists, activists, Indigenous leaders, financiers, youth and government leaders.


Crop Trust Executive Director, Stefan Schmitz, participated in a session highlighting successful practices from around the world that use food systems as a pathway to support countries in meeting food-related targets of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Ninth Session of the Governing Body

The Crop Trust and the International Plant Treaty Secretariat responded to the call by the Eighth Session of the Governing Body (GB-8) of the International Plant Treaty to work together on programmatic matters in a variety of ways, including by taking joint strategic action in support of national programs facing acute challenges.

Deposits to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault

31 partners from 28 nations participated in Svalbard deposits in February, June and October 2022. A total of 84,984 samples were deposited in 2022. The Svalbard deposit now holds more than 1.2 million samples.

Best of Opinion

Crop Diversity Can Save Food from the Climate Crisis

Crop Trust Executive Director Stefan Schmitz reflects on the importance of crop diversity in light of COP27 and the growing threat of climate change.

Healthy Agriculture Starts with Healthy Seeds

Lava Kumar, Head of the Germplasm Health and Virology and Diagnostics, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), reflects on the importance of germplasm health units (GHUs), which make sure the seeds and other plant materials genebanks share with farmers, scientists and plant breeders are free of pests and diseases. 

Crop Diversity is the Foundation of Food Sovereignty

On International Day of Biological Diversity, Ska Mirriam Moteane, a renowned chef from Lesotho, shares her opinion on the importance of crop diversity in overcoming her country’s challenges, and the joy it brings to our lives.

Thoughts on the Inaugural International Day of Plant Health

Crop Trust Cheif Scientist, Luigi Guarino, reflects on the importance of plant health and genebanks for the Innagural International Day of Plant Health.

Categories: For Educators, For The Press, For Partners, For Students, For Policymakers, Food Security

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