Raising Awareness of Crop Wild Relatives

November 10, 2016

The Crawford Fund recently assisted with the visit to Australia by Marie Haga, Executive Director of the Global Crop Diversity Trust and Dr Luigi Guarino, Director of Science and Programs at the Crop Trust.

During the busy week in Australia, Marie held discussions with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), and spoke at a public event organised by the Fund called ‘Crop Wild Relatives & Genebanks: Global Insurance for Climate Change’. Co-hosted with DFAT and the National Rural Press Club, the panel for the event included both Marie and Luigi, in addition to The Hon Tim Fischer (former Deputy Prime Minister and Board Member of the Crop Trust) and Dr Judy West (Executive Director of Australian National Botanic Gardens).

Marie was also kept busy with a range of media interviews we organised with national print, TV and radio to once again raise awareness of crop biodiversity conservation, the Svalbard Seed Vault and the new efforts around crop wild relatives (see links below). In her interviews she focused on the importance of conserving the wild relatives of crops.

“We know that the scraggly wild relatives of domesticated crops hold genetic diversity to help us develop more resilient crop varieties,” said Marie.

“Collecting and conserving crop wild relatives provides scientists, breeders and farmers around the world with plants that have resistance to extreme weather conditions, and diseases and pests we have never seen before”.

After her visit to Canberra, Marie joined scientists and genebank managers from 18 countries at training sessions and meetings in Melbourne. Our board member, Dr Tony Gregson, also attended the meetings in Melbourne and discussed the role that the Fund has played over the years in supporting the important work of the Crop Trust.

“The Crawford Fund was a significant supporter of the establishment of the Global Crop Diversity Trust,” said Tony.

“The Fund has made major efforts in advocacy and public awareness on the purpose and importance of genebanks and how they benefit Australia and developing countries”.

Selected media coverage links for Marie Haga and Luigi Guarino