Arctic Seed Vault ‘Key to Future Global Grops’

Published online: Feb 28, 2018 Articles Lukie Pieterse
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A special vault has been built in the Arctic to store thousands of seeds as some scientists fear the impact of climate change and prolonged conflicts could have devastating consequences on food crops around the world. The Global Seed Vault has been built inside a mountain, near the town of Longyearbyen—touted as the world’s northernmost city—on the remote Svalbard Islands. It stores thousands of sample seeds from dozens of different countries. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the largest collection of agricultural biodiversity in the world.

Potato samples are also stored in the vault, including samples from Peru, and recently from the Commonwealth Potato Collection, a unique repository of potato germplasm held in trust by the James Hutton Institute with support from the Scottish government (the first-ever seed deposit by a UK institution into the Global Seed Vault).

The Global Seed Vault is owned by the Norwegian government and operated under a three-party agreement between the Norwegian government, NordGen and the Crop Trust. Depositors to the vault still own the samples they deposit and only they can retrieve the material if required.

The BBC’s David Shukman has been given special access to the vault. Watch the video here.