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

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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 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.”

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