What Will It Cost To Secure Global Diversity Forever?
The Crop Trust has calculated that an endowment fund of USD 850 million is required to generate the necessary annual returns (around 34 million) to guarantee that crop diversity will be available in perpetuity.
This figure may sound ambitious, but it is only a fraction of the sums held by some of the world’s largest endowment funds.
In fact, if every single person in the world donated just 11 cents, the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund would be fully funded. Not everyone can afford to donate, but everyone must be afforded security of the human right to food for the future. Conserving crop diversity is the first and most crucial step to ensuring food security.
Where will the funds come from?
Support from governments, private sector companies, organizations and foundations is essential. The Crop Trust follows a diversified funding strategy with an emphasis on public donors and key private sector foundations, as well as innovative financing approaches, to raise the value of the Endowment Fund.
Can individual donations have a real impact?
Individuals might think that USD 850 million is far too big of a fund for a small donation to have an impact. However, any level of support matters. On average, it costs just USD 725 invested today to conserve a single crop variety in an international collection, forever.
When support comes from the governments of the world, private sector companies, organizations, foundations and individuals, funding the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund and thus securing crop diversity forever, isn’t that tall of a task.
What is the return on investment from supporting crop diversity?
While the value of crop diversity is not disputed, it can be difficult to quantify, partly because the full benefits from conserving diversity may not be realized for many years.
One way to calculate the value of the crop diversity captured in a genebank collection is by considering the downstream economic value of new crops developed using its materials.
For example, a 2020 study on Andean potato diversity found that a single variety of potato bred using material conserved at the International Potato Center (CIP) genebank, provided an estimated USD 1 billion in value to farmers in Uganda. That’s a single variety of a single crop in a single country.