Ministers Barnaby Joyce and Julie Bishop have announced Australia’s contribution to the Global Crop Diversity Trust.
The Trust supports the conservation of the world’s most diverse collection of food crop seeds and improves the plant genetic resources for the world’s major food crops. Australia will be contributing $5 million, which will provide financial support and technical assistance to seedbanks in developing countries and support a fail-safe backup of food crop seeds in the Svalbard Seed Vault in Norway.
According to the Ministers, seedbanks are vital to preparing for a projected 60 per cent increase in global food demand by 2050, and the Trust is playing an important role in preserving crop varieties with higher tolerance of climatic stresses such as drought and salinity.
Australia is also providing country-level support for crop diversity by assisting Afghanistan to unlock the genetic make-up of different types of wheat stored in their national seed bank, using technology developed in Australia.