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Supporting Genebanks

The cost of sustaining the world’s genebanks

Despite the cost-effectiveness of genebanks, meeting the long-term operational cost for the conservation of most crop diversity collections is rarely on a secure, sustainable footing. Many genebanks, even the most important ones, stagger uncertainly from one funding cycle to the next, with little scope for long-term planning.

Yet reliability of funding is absolutely crucial—a shortfall in financial resources can lead to the permanent loss of unique varieties. The Crop Trust’s objective is to ensure stable, predictable funding for an efficient and effective global system of crop collections, in perpetuity. That is where the Crop Trust Endowment Fund comes into play.

Without the continuous support of our dedicated partners and donors, the work of the Crop Trust would not be possible. 

An endowment fund to secure crop diversity forever

Through its Endowment Fund, the Crop Trust currently supports key international  genebanks around the world through Long-term Grants (LTGs) and Long-term Partnership Agreements (LPAs).


Long-term support for genebanks

Long-term grants (LTGs)

A proportion of the running costs of conserving and making available the following collections are covered by LTGs “in perpetuity”: 

  • Edible aroids – Fiji  (SPC)
  • Banana and plantain – Belgium (Bioversity International)
  • Barley – Syria (ICARDA)
  • Bean – Colombia (CIAT)
  • Cassava – Colombia (CIAT)
  • Cassava – Nigeria (IITA)
  • Chickpea – India (ICRISAT)
  • Faba bean – Syria (ICARDA)
  • Forages – Syria (ICARDA)
  • Forages – Ethiopia (ILRI)
  • Grasspea – Syria (ICARDA)
  • Lentil – Syria (ICARDA)
  • Maize – Mexico (CIMMYT)
  • Pearl millet – India (ICRISAT)
  • Rice – Philippines (IRRI)
  • Sorghum – India (ICRISAT)
  • Sweetpotato – Peru (CIP)
  • Wheat – Mexico (CIMMYT)
  • Yam – Fiji  (SPC)
  • Yam – Nigeria (IITA)

As the endowment fund grows, the Crop Trust will be able to secure more crops, and increase the funding for these valuable collections.

Long-term partnership agreements (LPAs)

Long-term Partnership Agreements (LPAs) are put in place to support for the long-term genebanks that meet agreed performance targets. They cover all the costs of basic operations of the genebank. 

In 2018, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the Crop Trust signed an agreement which guarantees funding worth USD 1.4 million a year, in perpetuity, to support the conservation and sharing of over 136,000 varieties of rice, a staple crop that feeds more than three billion people worldwide. 

The Crop Trust will continue to enter into such agreements with additional genebanks as the endowment fund grows and as the genebanks meet agreed-upon, international standards. 

Time-bound support for genebanks

Thanks to generous donors, the Crop Trust also provides shorter-term project support to national genebanks from low and middle-income countries worldwide to upgrade processes and facilities and build the capacity of staff. Current projects managed by the Crop Trust are:

Support through information systems

Information systems and the data they hold are central to the conservation and use of crop diversity, whether at the level of the individual collection or globally. The Crop Trust supports work on both types of system through: 

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