BONN, Germany (2 September, 2021) — The Global Crop Diversity Trust (Crop Trust) and the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) strengthened their partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to conserve and make available vegetable diversity. The milestone agreement comes during the United Nations International Year of Fruits and Vegetables.
The MoU focuses on ensuring that vital germplasm resources for breeding resilient, productive, and nutritious vegetable varieties can be protected and used over the long-term. It emphasizes fundraising to establish more sustainable financing for the WorldVeg collections, and taking steps to support the safeguarding of threatened vegetable crops worldwide, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The partners will support one another to increase research, capacity building and public awareness to highlight the role of vegetable diversity in a sustainable, healthy global food system.
The two international organizations have partnered together before, namely on developing Global Crop Conservation Strategies and on the Crop Wild Relatives Project, under which WorldVeg led an eggplant pre-breeding initiative.
“We are delighted to make this formal commitment to partner with WorldVeg to improve the long-term sustainability and resilience of our food systems,” says Dr. Stefan Schmitz, Executive Director of the Crop Trust, an international organization dedicated exclusively to conserving and making available crop diversity. “Our vegetable diversity is imperiled, and without it we cannot ensure varied and nutritious diets. Through this partnership, we can further protect these threatened vegetable crops.”
WorldVeg maintains the world’s largest public collection of vegetable seed, with about 65,000 vegetable varieties from 158 countries, and hosts the only genebank in Africa solely dedicated to vegetables, especially traditional vegetables. WorldVeg’s improved vegetable varieties, production, and postharvest methods increase crop yields to support the incomes and health of families in poor rural and urban areas in low income countries. By 2025, WorldVeg aims to have made a complete safety duplication of its seed collection at the genebank of the Rural Development Administration of Korea and in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a facility also supported by the Crop Trust.
“Agrobiodiversity is the foundation of the global food system and vegetables are among its nutritional powerhouses,” said Dr. Marco Wopereis, WorldVeg Director General. “In the Crop Trust we have found a strong, experienced partner with whom we can build the structures, practices, and support to rescue, conserve and use these precious resources for the benefit of all. I look forward to enhanced cooperation with the Crop Trust.”
About the Global Crop Diversity Trust
The Global Crop Diversity Trust, known as the Crop Trust, is an international organization working to support conservation and use of plant genetic resources. It supports genebanks, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and pre-breeding activities around the world. The Crop Trust is recognized as an essential component of the funding strategy of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. For more information, see www.croptrust.org.
About the World Vegetable Center
The World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg), an international non-profit institute for vegetable research and development, mobilizes resources from the public and private sector to realize the potential of vegetables for healthier lives and more resilient livelihoods. WorldVeg’s globally important genebank, improved varieties, production, and postharvest methods help farmers increase vegetable harvests, raise incomes in poor rural and urban households, create jobs, and provide healthier, more nutritious diets for families and communities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. On the web at worldveg.org.