Significant numbers of seed samples were deposited during the 10 year Seed Vault anniversary. The last updates of the Seed Portal database show that 968,557 samples are currently conserved in the Seed Vault, while the total number of deposited samples has passed one million. The difference in figures is due to the fact that ICARDA, as the first gene bank, has withdrawn seeds from the Vault.

During its ten years of operation, 76 institutes have shipped seeds to the Seed Vault. 23 of these participated in the celebration and brought new seeds to the Vault collection during a ceremony at the Seed Vault entrance, chaired by the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Jon Georg Dale.

In total, 77671 seed samples were added to the Seed Vault collection exactly on the 10 years anniversary day, Monday the 26th of February. Through this the total number of deposited samples passed 1 million, ending at 1060987 deposited seed accessions. As ICARDA over the last three years has withdrawn 92430 seed samples for the establishment of new gene bank collections in Morocco and Lebanon, the current holdings of the Seed Vault are 968,557 accessions.

Seed shipments from all continents

The International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs) were well represented at this major seed deposit event. New seed samples were deposited from The World Vegetable Center in Taiwan, CATIE (The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) in Costa Rica and from the CGIAR centers IRRI (The Philippines), ICARDA (Lebanon & Morocco), ICRAF (Kenya), ICRISAT (India), IITA (Nigeria), CIAT (Colombia), CIP (Peru) and AfricaRice in Benin.

Many countries took the opportunity to ship seeds from their national gene bank system; Ireland, Germany, Chile, Switzerland, Canada, United States, Portugal, New Zealand and Australia, in addition to Estonia. NordGen as a regional gene bank for the Nordic countries deposited seeds, as well as the US based NGO Seed Savers Exchange.

Next Seed Vault opening for receiving new seed shipments from gene banks will take place in October.

Ramni Jamnadass (left) and Alice Muchugi from the World Agroforestry Center,(ICRAF) in Kenya carried one seed box containing 318 seed samples of 12 different tree species important for tropical food production into the Seed Vault (Photo: NordGen).

Michael Abberton from the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria brought 1530 samples of different bean species into the Vault. The Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food Jon Georg Dale (left) chaired the anniversary seed deposit event (Photo: NordGen).

The Nordic Genetic Resources Center (NordGen) was, on behalf of collaborators, organizing the 10 year anniversary. NordGen director Lise Lykke Steffensen delivered Nordic seed for security storage in Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Photo: NordGen).