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Pact invests US $109 million to secure critical genetic material, maintain global food production
Date:1/31/2013

BONN, GERMANY (31 JANUARY 2013)Concerned that inconsistent funding eventually could weaken a global network of seed banks at a time when farmers face unprecedented challenges, two of the world's leading agriculture organizations announced today a bold new effort to secure what many consider the foundation of food security in the developing world.

The agreement between the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the CGIAR Consortium provides US$109 million over five years for the CGIAR Research Program for Managing and Sustaining Crop Collections, which is dedicated to maintaining the 706,000 samples of crop, forage and agroforestry resources held in "genebanks" at 11 CGIAR research centers around the world.

The seed banks house the world's largest and most diverse collections of wheat, maize, rice, potato, banana, sorghum, forages, beans and many other plants. This diversity is viewed as essential to providing farmers with new crop varieties critical to overcoming an array of weather- and pest-related threats. Over the last ten years alone, CGIAR genebanks have distributed more than one million samples to plant breeders and crop researchersa process that has saved millions of lives globally through the development of new, resilient crop varieties.

"With climate change greatly intensifying demands on plant breeders to develop new heat-, drought- and flood-tolerant crops, it is particularly important for the samples conserved in the CGIAR's genebanks to be readily accessible and in optimal condition," said slaug Marie Haga, incoming executive director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust. "The viability of agriculture depends on the incredible treasure of crop diversity housed in the CGIAR genebanks."

"This particular program underpins global agricultural research; it builds a foundation for all of our other research progra
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Contact: Michelle Geis
mgeis@burnesscommunications.com
301-280-5712

Contact: Susan Tonassi
301-280-5711
stonassi@burnesscommunications.com


Source:Eurekalert


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