DuPont Pioneer has committed $250,000 to preserve the availability of crop diversity. Last week at the Crop Trust’s Pledging Conference in Washington D.C. the Executive Director of the Crop Trust, Marie Haga, explained the importance of funding a global system for conserving some of the world’s most important food crops.
“In just 10 years, we will have 1 billion more people at the global dinner table,” Ms. Haga said. “Our best hedge against disaster is to make sure we have a wide array of diversity within crops at our disposal to keep harvests healthy in the bread baskets of the world.”
With populations climbing at a rapid rate and climate change threatening staple crops like maize, DuPont Pioneer has made their $250,000 renewable for up to four years. This money will be handled through the Crop Diversity Endowment Fund where funds will be used to hold seeds in banks around the world.
“Seed banks ultimately help safeguard a global food supply, as wars and natural disasters can decimate an area’s crops,” said Jerry Flint, vice president of industry affairs and regulatory, DuPont Pioneer. “DuPont Pioneer is collaborating with the Crop Trust to secure millions of diverse seed samples, which will be essential for breeding plants that contribute to farmers’ long-term success and feed a growing population.”
Crop collections require constant maintenance, and even brief disruptions or variations in funding can leave material at risk of permanent loss. The conservation of crop diversity in gene banks is by nature a very long-term task. Only stable, predictable support from an endowment fund can guarantee a global system of conservation for a shared resource that is too important for anything less than perpetual care.
International crop collections receiving Crop Trust long-term funds are obligated to make their genetic resource collections accessible and available to the world in accordance with the relevant international agreements, including the Convention on Biodiversity and the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
DuPont has been working with Crop Trust 2002. They’ve recently been part of the Crop Trust’s #CropsInColor social media campaign in collaboration with Getty Images Reportage to highlight the visual diversity of crops. You can see a video of maize diversity here.
“Conserving and making crop diversity available provides options,” concluded Ms. Haga. “One of these options might just save the future of agriculture and the future of the food we eat. We encourage all governments and private sector companies working in agriculture to take the step DuPont Pioneer has to protect our food, forever.”