For the past 50 years, the industrialization of food and seed systems, and the globalization of trade and supply networks led to a significant decrease in plant diversity.
As direct results of this global loss of agricultural biodiversity, diet quality is getting worse, farmers are exposed to greater climate risks, and ecosystem services are being lost or degraded.
The Alliance is addressing this crisis by enabling a better, smarter, more resilient use of agricultural biodiversity.
Building on our experience and network of partnerships in genetic resource conservation and use, and through research, policies, and education, we are boosting the use of biodiversity for food and agriculture.
Together with our partners at the national, regional, and global level, we bridge the knowledge gap on the potential of neglected crops, crop wild relatives, landraces, tree species. We also ensure access and availability of this material to farmers, through efficient seed systems.
Further, we contribute to the design of policies and institutions, to improve the way agricultural biodiversity is both commercially exploited and conserved.
Why is our agricultural biodiversity at stake?
When sustainability is an afterthought, agricultural production systems can have a negative impact on our biodiversity, landscapes, and wellbeing.
For instance, agriculture:
- contributes to over 30% of the land degradation in many countries (SDG 15.3.1 indicator);
- drives climate change, with the agricultural sector directly responsible of 7% of total GHG (FAO);
- intensifies biodiversity loss (FAO, IPBES, CBD Global Biodiversity).
In addition, specific reductions of agrobiodiversity towards cereal-based monoculture systems can limit access to essential micronutrients, depleting the diets of millions of people globally.
Through our work, we promote awareness of the benefits of agricultural biodiversity to producers and other food-system actors. And we ensure access to quality crops, seeds, and trees thanks to the crucial work of our two genebanks.
See our work on Agrobiodiversity in action
TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING
In 2019 and 2020, with masterclasses, training programs, and summer courses—often organized with partnering institutions spanning FAO and La Sapienza University in Rome— we discussed key global issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss, and enhanced capacities on agrobiodiversity, crop conservation, regenerative agriculture.
WILD CROPS CONSERVATION IN SOUTH AFRICA
A 3-year initiative supported by Darwin Initiative and funded by DEFRA, Bridging agriculture and environment: Southern African crop wild relative regional network focuses on enhancing food security through better conservation and access to crop wild relatives (CWR). With mechanisms that allow farmers to benefit from conserving CWR gendered capacity building opportunities, and increased access to germplasm, this program is underpinning Southern African food security and poverty reduction.