More than 25,000 seed samples from 17 different countries will arrive in Svalbard this week. This latest seed shipment from Brazil, Burundi, Chile, Mali and Mongolia, among other countries, brings the total number of seed types in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to more than three quarters of a million.
Seeds lining up for Svalbard...
“I am very happy with the confidence in the seed vault. The seeds that are frozen in the mountain in Svalbard may help to adapt our crops to changing climatic conditions and be an important key to global food security,” says Minister of Agriculture and Food, Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.
Maize and rice from Brazil
The Brazilian research organization EMBRAPA is sending 264 and 541 carefully selected seed samples of maize and rice respectively. This collection is small, but strategic. “Despite a reduced number of seed samples, these represent most of the genetic variation within the plant species and contain no duplicates,” says a researcher with Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, Marília Burle, who is coordinating the Brazilian shipment.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was established by the Norwegian government, and has for almost five years provided free storage for seed collections all over the world who want additional backup storage for the seeds they store. Today there are slightly less than 2 million different seeds of global food and agricultural crops stored in freezers in private and public gene banks worldwide.
The Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (NordGen), which is responsible for the daily operations of the seed vault, opens for deposits of new seeds three to four times a year. More information about the seeds in the vault is available at www.seedvault.no and www.nordgen.org/sgsv.
Seed boxes from Brazil and 16 other countries arrive at the vault (Photo: Pål Hermansen)
Ola Westengen with the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre checks the seeds upon arrival at the seed vault (Photo: Pål Hermansen)