Best of 2022: Celebrating Crop Diversity
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
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.
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.
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.
Learn the ins and outs of genebanks and their essential role in conserving crop diversity.
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
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.
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.
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.
By studying the changes in wild field mustard, researchers documented evolution, likely in response to human-caused climate change, in real-time.
“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.
Best of Events
2022 marked the first Crop Diversity Day, a day dedicated to the importance of agrobiodiversity and critical issues facing our food systems.
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.
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.
Best of Opinion
Crop Trust Executive Director Stefan Schmitz reflects on the importance of crop diversity in light of COP27 and the growing threat of climate change.
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.
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.
Crop Trust Cheif Scientist, Luigi Guarino, reflects on the importance of plant health and genebanks for the Innagural International Day of Plant Health.
Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, shares insights on the importance of the Emergency Reserve for Genebanks.