Policy Brief - Where our Food Crops Come from: A New Estimation of Countries’ Interdependence in Plant Genetic Resources

C.K. Khoury, H.A. Achicanoy, A.D. Bjorkman, C. Navarro-Racines, L. Guarino, X. Flores-Palacios, J.M.M. Engels, J.H. Wiersema, H. Dempewolf, J. Ramirez-Villegas, N.P. Castaneda-Alvarez, C. Fowler, A. Jarvis, L.H. Rieseberg, P.C. Struik

Research output: Other contributionPamphlet


Key messages: • Access to plant genetic resources used in crop improvement is essential for achieving food and nutrition security. • All countries utilize crops whose genetic diversity originates outside their borders and therefore benefi t from international collaboration to access plant genetic resources. • Countries are highly interdependent in regard to these resources, as 68.7% of their diets and 69.3% of their national agricultural production systems depend on crops whose genetic diversity originates largely outside their borders, on average across countries worldwide. • Countries’ dependence on crops that originated in other regions has increased over the past 50 years in concert with economic and agricultural development and the globalization of food systems. Increased utilization of these “foreign” crops is correlated with greater dietary diversity and higher GDP. • Global interdependence in plant genetic resources provides a strong rationale for proactively conserving and facilitating access to this diversity worldwide. We recommend more comprehensive participation of countries in the Multilateral System of Access and Benefi t Sharing of the ITPGRFA, and for widening international cooperation and a multilateral approach to the exchange of plant genetic diversity in order to consider all crops of present and future international importance.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCIAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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