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Crop Trust and UK Foreign Office Confirm Vital New Funding Pledge for Crop Diversity

Crop Trust and UK Foreign Office Confirm Vital New Funding Pledge for Crop Diversity

Lentil Diversity at ICRISAT. Photo: Shawn Landersz for the Crop Trust

13 December 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 13 December 2023 — The Crop Trust is thrilled to confirm a £5m funding pledge from the Government of the United Kingdom to help support the future of food.

Delivered through the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), the funding will help bolster the Crop Trust’s vital work in supporting genebanks across the world.

Following speeches at COP 28 from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak MP, Minister for Development Andrew Mitchell MP and King Charles III, the latest funding underlines the UK Government’s commitment to future-proofing the global food system. The UK has been a steadfast supporter of the Crop Trust’s endowment fund, contributing more than USD $19 million since the Crop Trust’s creation in 2004.

The United Kingdom, through its support for the endowment, aligns with 15 other countries committed to safeguarding our global food security, forever. This recent contribution is part of a funding package to the CGIAR and other organizations that aims to foster work that multiplies solutions to address some of our most pressing challenges. 

According to the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, 827 national genebanks in 115 countries, 4 regional and 13 international genebanks hold collections of crop diversity for safekeeping, yet many of these are vulnerable, exposed not only to natural catastrophes and war, but also to lack of funding or inadequate management.

Through the endowment fund, the Crop Trust provides long-term support to secure key collections of crop diversity in genebanks worldwide; ensuring not just their safety, but also that they are made available for use by researchers, plant breeders, farmers and local communities.

This work has never been more timely. For example, with a backdrop of war in Ukraine, international partners, including the Crop Trust, arranged for the safe transport of over 50,000 seeds from the country’s primary seed vault in Kharkiv to a more secure location, preserving vital seed diversity amidst the ongoing conflict.

Moreover, the Crop Trust and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture recently announced emergency funding for genebanks in Laos and Sudan, in response to internal conflicts and the strains of climate change.

Andrew Mitchell, United Kingdom’s International Development Minister, said:

"The UK is proud to support the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund, protecting the priceless biodiversity stored in global seedbanks on which we all depend. These resources are the foundation of programmes to develop adapted, climate-resilient, nutritious crops for the future."

Stefan Schmitz, Executive Director of the Crop Trust, said:

“We are hugely grateful to the UK Government for their latest donation to the endowment fund. As the conversations at this year’s COP 28 have highlighted, the need to future-proof the world’s food system is of paramount importance. A key way of doing this is through supporting the genebanks that can safeguard crop diversity against climate change and conflict, and this funding will play an important role in ensuring this.”

About the Crop Trust

The Crop Trust is an international organization working to conserve and make available crop diversity and thus protect global food and nutrition security. At the core of Crop Trust is an endowment fund dedicated to providing guaranteed long-term financial support to key genebanks worldwide. The Crop Trust supports the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and coordinates large-scale projects worldwide to secure crop diversity and make it available for use, globally forever and for the benefit of everyone. The Crop Trust is recognized as an essential element of the funding strategy of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Learn more at

Category: Press Releases

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