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“In a matter of hours, Hurricane Maria wiped out about 80 percent of the crop value in Puerto Rico — making it one of the costliest storms to hit the island’s agriculture industry, said Carlos Flores Ortega, Puerto Rico’s secretary of the Department of Agriculture.”

Extreme weather events such as this are on the rise, decimating crops and destroying agricultural land. These tragedies emphasize just how critical it is to safeguard crop diversity. By conserving the diversity of our agricultural food crops in genebanks and utilizing them in breeding, we give farmers a safety net for when disaster strikes and options to better adapt for the future. Options are needed to develop more resilient crops that can withstand worsening weather conditions and feed our growing population.

Agriculture provides everything for millions of farmers around the world, and really everyone on earth. “A people without agriculture,” said Puerto Rican farmer Luis A. Pinto Cruz, “are a people without food.” #CropNews

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