Seed vault reaches 1 million

Svalbard’s seed vault celebrates 10 year anniversary with milestone deposit

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Photo: Sara Landqvist / NordGen
Minister of Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale visits the seed vault for the 10th anniversary.

Ministry of Agriculture & Food

On Feb. 26, just more than 76,000 new seed samples were carried into Svalbard Global Seed Vault for long-term storage. This means that the seed vault now holds more than 1 million seed samples from gene banks worldwide. Norway’s Minister for Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale hosted the anniversary celebration as representatives from 23 international gene banks carried their seed samples into the vault.

Depositors and partners from all over the world gathered in Longyearbyen to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and attend the “Seed Vault Summit.” The seed vault in Svalbard opened on Feb. 26, 2008, when former Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Nobel laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai carried the first seed crates into the vault.

Safe storage for the world’s food plants
The purpose of the seed vault is to provide safe storage for duplicates of seeds stored in national, regional, and international gene banks worldwide. The goal is to maintain the genetic variation within the world’s food plants, ensuring that agricultural and industrial crops are not eradicated in local or global disasters such as war, terrorism, and natural disasters.

“It is simply impressive that 1 million seed samples from all over the world have now found their way to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It confirms the important role of the seed vault as a worldwide insurance for food supply for future generations and an ever-growing population,” Minister of Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale said.

The full capacity of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is 4.5 million different seed types, and it can therefore house duplicates of all the unique seed types found today in the many gene banks around the world, as well as new seed types that will be gathered in the future.
The parties that finance and operate Svalbard Global Seed Vault are the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen).

This article originally appeared in the March 9, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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