The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is an informal network of 16 international agricultural research centres which manages approximately 600,000 agricultural seed samples. It is the most influential agricultural research body in the South, and thus affects food and agricultural development policies for resource-poor farmers worldwide. In 1994, most of the crop germplasm held in CGIAR gene banks was placed under the auspices of the FAO, to be held in trust for the world community. ETC Group is engaged in ongoing work related to the science, governance and patent policies of the CGIAR.