Norway to support development of climate-resilient crop seeds and crops

'The Crop Wild Relatives project is playing an important part in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and promoting achievement of the new sustainable development goals, particularly Goal 2 on food security and nutrition,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende, when he signed an agreement on 14 April pledging Norwegian support to the last phase of the 10-year project.

The agreement was signed in connection with the Crop Trust Pledging Conference. The Crop Trust is headed by Executive Director Marie Haga, who has previously been a Norwegian diplomat and politician. The agreement will run from 2017 to 2020, and during this period Norway will provide NOK 160 million. Norway has already supported the first two phases of the project, contributing a total of NOK 195 million.

The aim of the project is to adapt agriculture to climate change, particularly in tropical regions. This is being done by developing new, climate-resilient varieties of the world's most important crops using genetic material from their wild relatives.

Seeds from crop wild relatives are being collected and useful traits are being isolated in pre-breeding projects. After this comes the technically difficult work of cross-breeding to transfer genetic material from wild plants and develop new crop varieties that can be used by seed companies and farmers to meet the challenges of a changing climate.

Norway has been a major contributor to this work by playing a leading role in international processes, providing substantial aid funds, and building and running the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.