Government of Norway

10/30/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/30/2020 03:06

Successful seed deposit despite the pandemic

News story |Date: 30/10/2020| Ministry of Agriculture and Food

In the midst of the ongoing global pandemic, gene banks are sending backup copies of their seeds to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This week, around 15,000 new bags of seeds from eight gene banks were safely placed on the shelves in the seed vault.

- It is impressive that gene banks are able to maintain their activity under difficult circumstances. The pandemic emphasizes how important it is to work long-term to improve food security, says Minister of Agriculture and Food Olaug Bollestad.

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The Seed Vault has been established by Norway as a contribution to the global efforts to preserve biological diversity in agriculture. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food is responsible for the facility, which is operated together with NordGen and CropTrust. Due to travel restrictions, only NordGen staff already on Svalbard handled the reception of the new seed shipment. The seed vault receives seeds three to four times a year. This time, the following gene banks contributed:

  1. Rice Biodiversity Center for Africa, Côtes d'Ivoire
  2. National Rice Seed Storage Laboratory for Genetic Resources, Thailand
  3. Chaipattana Foundation, Thailand
  4. SADC Plant Genetic Resources Center (SPGRC), Zambia
  5. The Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute (IHAR), Poland
  6. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria
  7. National Agrobiodiversity Center, South Korea.
  8. World Agroforestry Center, Kenya.