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Crop Wild Relative Symposium stimulates discussion on climate change

In advance of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21), the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Global Crop Diversity Trust held an exciting symposium on 'The Role of Crop Diversity in Transitioning to a Resilient Food System in a Changing Climate'.

The symposium, held on 23 November at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, included eight speakers from seven different organisations and covered a range of key topics in the area of crop diversity and food security in a changing climate.

The presentations were:

  • The scale of the problem - Climate change and agriculture: Dr Geoff Hawtin, Special Advisor to the Crop Trust, Trustee of RBG Kew and Chair of the Board of Trustees for CIAT 
  • Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change – the Crop Wild Relative project: Dr Ruth Eastwood, RBG Kew 
  • Increasing global wheat production by exploitation of wild related species: Professor Ian King, University of Nottingham.
  • Safeguarding the future: CWR holdings and associated research at the John Innes Centre: Mr Mike Ambrose, John Innes
  • An Introduction to the UK National Fruit Collection: Dr Matt Ordidge, University of Reading
  • Resilience in the coffee sector - the importance of knowing the location of CWRs: Dr Aaron Davies, RBG Kew.
  • Conservation and Vegetable Crop Improvement: the benefits of wild species in research and breeding: Dr Charlotte Allender, University of Warwick.
  • CWR Conservation Around the World: Where are the gaps? Luigi Guarino, Crop Diversity Trust

The MP for Horsham Jeremy Quin MP also addressed the participants and assisted banking Crop Wild Relative seeds collected by national partners in the University of Pavia.

Breeding better adapted and more efficient crops are key to the transition towards more resilient, low-carbon societies and economies. This symposium highlighted UK expertise which does and will continue to contribute towards this aim.

For more information on the Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change project contact Ruth Eastwood.