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About us

Crop-Innovations is a registered charity based in the UK (charity no. 1112295). The organisation aims to improve food security, nutritional status and the economic welfare of humans by promoting crop species that are currently not used to their full potential. Using a wider variety of crop species, that are able to grow in different climates or on marginal lands, creates more robust yields and farming communities better able to cope with climate change. Our organisation is governed by an international Board of Trustees and emplys an operations mananger who coordinates research and publicity projects, collaborations and funding applications.

Our work

Crop-Innovations provides support to farmers and organisations working at grass-roots levels to promote sustainable agriculture and conservation. We conduct demand-driven research and adapt scientific technology that supports a value chain for diverse crops. Our work particularly seeks to promote under-utilised crops. Under-utilised crops are plant species that can potentially benefit people but, currently, this potential has not been fully realised. It might be that a plant is only used at a local level but could be sold more widely to increase farmers’ income. Alternatively, a plant species may have been valuable in the past but is now under threat of extinction due to loss of traditional knowledge. Efforts to increase usage of these under-utilised crops are often undermined by difficulties along the value chain. Our support comes in a number of different ways.

Adapting technology - Crop-Innovations partners agricultural development organisations to identify ways of maximising benefit from currently un-commercialised crops and varieties. Scientific innovations can help to improve a value chain right the way along its length - from cultivation to consumption. We adapt scientific technology and methods to create devices and protocols that help farmers increase their yield and income and help to ensure a safe, secure and nutritious food supply for all.

Research - Crop-Innovations provides vital research capabilities and expertise to increase the value of a diverse range of crops. Problems that reduce crop value can occur in various aspects of the farming process, from germination or seed production through to use of the seed in food and consumer preferences. Our methods include molecular diagnostics, genetic analysis and physiological experiments. These scientific techniques are frequently not accessible to rural communities. Our organisation will coordinate activities to resolve the problem and work to provide solutions that will enhance utilisation of the crop. This will be achieved by building networks of researchers and managing collaborations. Our staff can work directly on the species of interest, or research can, initially, be conducted in model systems and knowledge transferred to the crop. The results of our research enable better use of the plant, and increase the value of the crop.

Sourcing funds - Crop-Innovations helps to identify potential sources of funding for a project. We will assist with writing applications for grants as well as liase with potential donors to secure necessary funds.

Raising awareness - Crop-Innovations talks to policy-makers, academics, donors, growers, and consumers to raise awareness of the need for agricultural diversity. We emphasise the advantages of diversifying our food sources for both health and sustainability. These benefits and the need for further research are demonstrated by describing examples of neglected crops and previous success stories. Introducing people to new foods will increase demand and provide growers with new sources of income.

Information networks - Crop-Innovations manages a network of experts and supporters who can collaborate on research projects or provide independent advice to stakeholders.