Biotech Updates

FAO: Traditional Crops Need Protection from Climate Change

November 18, 2011

There is urgent need to protect traditional food crops and other plant varieties worldwide from climate change and other environmental stresses. Countries need to develop specific policies to conserve and make wider use of plant varieties. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Jacques Diouf made this call during the tenth anniversary of the international treaty to protect and share plant genetic resources.

"The conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture are key to ensuring that the world will produce enough food to feed its growing population in the future," Diouf said. He mentioned that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is an important tool for adapting agriculture to climate change. Its Benefit-sharing Fund supports farmers and breeders in 21 developing countries to adapt key crops to the new conditions brought on by climate change, floods, droughts, plant pests, plant diseases and other factors.

"The effects of climate change on agriculture do not respect national borders, they cover entire agro-ecological zones," said Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty. "For this reason, this portfolio of projects is taking a pioneering approach in generating a global knowledge base. Some of these projects will help us to establish clear priorities and action plans across borders for future actions."

View the FAO release at