21 JUNE 2012. FAO Press Release. The European Commission is contributing more than €5 million (6.5 million dollars) towards the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO announced at a high-level ministerial meeting on the plant treaty at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
The Benefit-sharing Fund helps farmers in developing countries manage crop diversity for food security and climate change adaptation. This is the single largest contribution made to the Benefit-sharing Fund since it was established in 2008. It will help to increase the capacity of smallholder farmers to manage traditional crops like potato, rice, cassava, wheat and sorghum.
“One of the Benefit-sharing Fund’s unique features is the transparent process that governs the allocation of funds. After a wide announcement of each call, all the project proposals received for funding are evaluated according to established scientific criteria by international experts in order to fund the best projects,” said Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty.
The contribution from the European Commission will make possible a range of activities, including:
- On-farm evaluation, selection and management of local and introduced seed varieties;
- Conservation of local and threatened varieties in national or international genebanks or the development of local and community genebanks;
- Documentation and sharing of local and indigenous knowledge that brings value to local crops and varieties;
- The transfer of technologies for conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources to farmers and selected institutions in developing countries;
- Establishment of links between farmers and communities elsewhere to promote the sharing of genetic material and information about that material, which will help farmers to respond to climate change.
So far, two rounds of calls and approvals have taken place. Altogether 30 projects have received funding.