The way to safeguard our food supply in the midst of climate chaos is by using and adapting the plant and animal genetic diversity that farming communities have bred and nurtured over 10,000 years. Preparing agriculture for climate change depends on the conservation and sustainable use of the genes and adaptive traits that will enable plants and animals to withstand environmental conditions that are more extreme and less predictable.
To cope with unprecedented changes, farmers will need to look outside their communities and national borders to find seeds and breeds that are better adapted to new and changing conditions. Farmers’ access to, and exchange of, diversity is paramount.
Ultimately, global food security and climate resilience depend on complementary strategies for conserving crop genetic diversity both in situ (on-farm) and ex situ (in gene banks).