Category: 2019

First Slovak seeds deposited in Seed Vault

This time of year, the last rays of sun give Svalbard a magical blue light. And both the Slovak and Norwegian Ministers of Agriculture could enjoy it as they attended the first ever Slovak seed deposit. The seeds from the Slovak genebank were in good company as they were carried into Svalbard Global Seed Vault along with seeds from Poland, Sudan and ICARDA.

“New chapter in history” as Poland signs depositor’s agreement

The Polish flag next to the Norwegian, thick agreement papers and a room full of anticipation. As the head of the Polish Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute (IHAR) recently signed the depositor’s agreement, IHAR became institution number 77 to join the Svalbard Global Seed Vault depositors’ family. The first box containing 406 seed samples is now on its way to Svalbard.

Seed Vault named one of the 50 most influential projects

The organisation Project Management Institute has named Svalbard Global Seed Vault the 10th most influential project during the last 50 years. The Seed Vault is recognised “for building the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply”.

Withdrawal of ICARDA Aleppo seeds accomplished

By mid-August, the third and last part of the seeds deposited by the ICARDA gene bank in Aleppo, Syria were taken out of the Seed Vault and sent back to ICARDA units in Morocco and Lebanon. The total deposit from Aleppo during the years 2008 – 2014 constituted 116,484 seed samples and all these are now safely returned.

Second seed deposit from SPGRC this year

After depositing 1158 new seeds accessions this week, the SPGRC gene bank has secured in total 5244 seed samples in the Seed Vault.

“We will during the coming six months send even more seeds to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault”, says Ms. Sthembiso Mbhele, who quite recently has taken over the responsibility for the SPGRC Ex-Situ Conservation Program.

Long travelled seeds in place in the Seed Vault

The second regular Seed Vault opening this year was accomplished during the first week of June. Two gene banks deposited seeds at this occasion; the US based Seed Savers Exchange and the Margot Forde Germplasm Centre in New Zealand. In addition the last portion of orchid seeds from the Myanmar Orchid project were placed in the Seed Vault.

Seeds from unique forage collection deposited in the Seed Vault

Seeds from the world’s arguably most diverse and unique forage collection were deposited in Svalbard Global Seed Vault today. In a country with about 30 million sheep to its 3 million inhabitants, forages are an important part of the economy. The Margot Forde Forage Germplasm Centre plans to continue to back up its collection at Svalbard- as they consider it an obvious choice for the gene bank material’s second backup.

SPGRC in Zambia Urge all the World’s Gene banks to Use the Seed Vault

This week, NordGen carried new seeds into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The deposit comes from the regional gene bank SPGRC, which sent eight boxes all the way from Zambia. The gene bank and its employees were close to the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai but were fortunately not directly affected. However, the gene bank still has many other challenges to handle.

Close to 90% of the ICRISAT collection duplicated

ICRISAT is among the gene banks that have deposited the largest numbers of seed samples in the Seed Vault. “At the moment almost 90% of our seed collection is duplicated in the Seed Vault, and we will continue to ship seeds to Svalbard until copies of the entire collection is deposited there”, says Dr. Vania Azevedo, Head of ICRISAT Genebank.

India eager to deposit more seeds in Svalbard

India has one of the largest plant germplasm collections in the world, hosted in the National Gene Bank at ICAR National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), New Delhi. The NBPGR has only just started to deposit security samples in the Seed Vault, but is eager to speed up this process significantly, hopefully with new seed shipments to Svalbard later this year.