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Crop wild relatives (CWR) are to our food plants what wolves are to dogs. If that does not make them sound very useful, it’s giving the wrong impression. That’s because CWR contain an incredible amount of genetic diversity, representing an invaluable resource for crop improvement. Many of their traits have the potential to help crops become more resistant and resilient, and adapt to the new conditions that they will experience due to climate change.
The project Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change: Collecting, Protecting, and Preparing Crop Wild Relatives is a major global effort to conserve CWR and facilitate their use in crop breeding for food security. It supports national programmes to collect and conserve CWR, as well as collaborative pre-breeding projects around the world. This initiative, which is supported by the Government of Norway, has a planned duration of ten years.