|VAN ZONNEVELD, MAARTEN - World Vegetable Center|
|GUARINO, LUIGI - The Crop Trust|
|MAYES, SEAN - Crops For The Future|
|QUINTERO, MARCELA - International Center For Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)|
|CHOUDHURY, DRUPAD - International Centre For Integrated Mountain Development|
|DELLOO, EHSHAN - International Center For Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)|
|KINDT, ROELAND - International Centre For Research In Agroforestry (ICRAF)|
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/7/2021
Publication Date: 5/11/2021
Citation: Van Zonneveld, M., Volk, G.M., Guarino, L., Mayes, S., Quintero, M., Choudhury, D., Delloo, E., Kindt, R. 2021. Safeguarding and using fruit and vegetable biodiversity. Food Systems Summit Brief, United Nations Food Systems Summit 2021 Scientific Group.
Interpretive Summary: The Scientific Group of the United Nations 2021 Food Systems Summit requested a position paper titled “Safeguarding fruit and vegetable biodiversity” by experts in the conservation community. This manuscript provides information and data with respect to how fruit and vegetable biodiversity contributes to diverse food supplies and diets. It also discusses the need to increase awareness to sustainably use fruit and vegetable genetic resources at the local level and to conserve these resources at national and international scales. In many cases, successful conservation will be a result of both on- and off-site efforts, performed as collaborations between local communities and plant genebank programs.
Technical Abstract: Fruits and vegetables provide diverse food production systems for local and global economies and contribute significantly to worldwide health and nutrition. Most fruit and vegetable crops have been neglected or underutilized because historically agriculture research and development has focused on the use of cereal and pulse genetic resources to successfully breed high-yielding varieties to feed a growing human population. Fruits and vegetables are playing increasingly prominent roles in new global research and development agendas that focus on nutrition and healthy diets in combination with climate action, safeguarding biodiversity, ending poverty, and improving livelihoods. A global rescue plan is needed to strengthen the existing network of genebank collections of fruits and vegetables and to perform plant explorations to fill conservation gaps. This rescue should complement in situ conservation efforts for wild relatives of fruits and vegetables, as well as their pollinators, in their natural habitats. Most fruit crops do not have international conservation programs, and are therefore dependent upon national genebank programs to protect cultivars as well as the crop wild relatives. An international team of experts from different sectors and disciplines under the umbrella of a global initiative to rescue fruit and vegetable biodiversity could develop a plan to identify priorities, establish clear objectives, prioritize actions, and establish a clear and transparent approach to track progress in the conservation effort.