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Preserving, Properly Transferring Crop Genetic Diversity Could Help Achieve Global Food Security

Inter Press Service: A New Roadmap to Meet Hunger Goals
Ruben Echeverría, director general of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture

“…[A]ccording to new research — the majority of crop wild relatives (that is, wild species related to our food crops that possess diverse traits such as disease and drought tolerance) are not easily available in genebanks. This means that we are limiting the options that our plant breeders have to secure our food supply. … Providing capacity support for conservation initiatives and for plant breeders, particularly those at national institutions in developing regions to collect and preserve the crops found in their region is going to be critical. … But this type of work is long-term, and requires reliable funding and to see it through. The conservation and agriculture communities … need to communicate with each other, to determine the bottlenecks that are hindering the transfer of vitally important crop genetic diversity across the globe and work together to solve them. … If we continue to work together and act fast to close these unnecessary gaps in our genebanks, we stand one step closer to coping with climate change” (3/24).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.