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Landmark Partnership Guarantees Long-term Support For Globally Important Collections of Beans and Forages

18 April 2023

Bean diversity Palmer

18 April 2023, Cali, Colombia – A new Long-term Partnership Agreement (LPA) signed today between the Crop Trust and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT secures the future of two globally important collections of crop diversity. 

This landmark agreement delivers perpetual, guaranteed funding to conserve the beans and forages collections housed in the CIAT-run Future Seeds genebank in Palmira, Colombia. The Crop Trust will cover a substantial part of the costs of the genebank operations essential to keep some 70,000 seed samples alive and available to researchers, breeders and farmers forever.

Future Seeds holds the largest collections of beans accessions (37,936) and tropical forages (22,694) diversity worldwide, providing a wealth of traits that will help develop new varieties to help farmers adapt to climate challenges and associated shocks. It also proposes more environmentally-friendly and lower-cost conservation methods, paving the way for others to follow in preserving agriculturally-relevant biological heritage.

The Future Seeds genebank is recognized as a key international collection under Article 15 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The genebank holds its collections of crop diversity “in trust” for the benefit of humanity. Future Seeds distributes samples to farmers and researchers worldwide free of charge, ensuring crop diversity is protected and used to tackle food and nutritional security challenges across the globe.

Stefan Schmitz, Crop Trust Executive Director, and Marcela Quintero, Associate Director General, Research Strategy and Innovation at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT signed the agreement.

“Our Long-term Partnership Agreement testifies to the exceptional work of Future Seeds,” said Schmitz. “The Crop Trust is honoured to guarantee ongoing support for this futuristic genebank, ensuring its vital work can continue – into the long-term future. This is only possible, thanks to the unwavering support of the many donors to our endowment fund since its inception 18 years ago.”

This is the second LPA the Crop Trust has signed, following a 2017 agreement with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) that ensured permanent funding for the world’s largest rice collection. Other international collections are expected to enter into LPAs in the near future, as the Crop Trust works with the CGIAR international agricultural research partnership to ensure enduring protection for the diversity of as many vital crops as possible in the face of the climate crisis and threats to biodiversity. 

“We are delighted to have signed this agreement with the Crop Trust, which guarantees essential support for the Future Seeds genebank.” added Joe Tohme, ad-interim Managing Director of the Americas at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT. “With the Crop Trust’s support, we can ensure that beans and tropical forages are protected long-term and can help facilitate solutions to some of the biggest environmental challenges the world is facing right now.”

Notes to the Editor

Additional quotes:

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

“As the climate crisis intensifies, the diversity of more and more crops is becoming endangered, just when more diversity is necessary, not less. That means that the Crop Trust is more needed than ever. Genebanks are instrumental in addressing this plight, and it is vital that they have the support and resources they need to succeed. To ensure that the Crop Trust is able to continue its essential work, we are calling for more businesses and governments to lend their support.”

About the Crop Trust

The Crop Trust is an international organization working to conserve 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 around the world 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

About the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT

The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT delivers research-based solutions that harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives. To do so, the Alliance works with local, national and multinational partners across Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, and with the public and private sectors. With partners, the Alliance generates evidence and mainstreams innovations in large-scale programs to create food systems and landscapes that sustain the planet, drive prosperity and nourish people in a climate crisis. Learn more at

The Alliance is part of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future, dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources and ecosystem services.

Categories: For The Press, Press Releases, Genebanks, Beans, Temperate forages

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