Midnight Sun Shines on Latest Svalbard Global Seed Vault Deposit

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault once again opened its door to seeds from around the world. Eleven genebanks from Africa, America, Asia and Europe deposiied a total of 19,391 seed samples this week.

  • 19,391 seed samples from 11 genebanks will be added
  • Largest deposit will be made by the World Vegetable Center, including seeds from Indigenous communities
  • Spain and Lithuania depositing seeds for first time
  • More than 1.1 million seed samples of nearly 6,000 plant species already secured in the Seed Vault

For the first time, the national genebanks of Spain and Lithuania are participating.

The seeds are transported into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The seeds are transported into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault Credit: NordGen

- Spain holds collections of plant diversity that are not only important to the country, but to the whole world, said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the Plant Treaty. - I hope other steps follow to guarantee the long-term conservation and use of the network of collections that Spain has built over the last decades. The deposit from Spain consists of 979 seed samples of 102 species, mostly cereals and vegetables.

Lithuania’s Vice Minister of Environment Danas Augutis is delivering the first seeds from his country – including vegetables, cereals and forage plants. The largest single deposit – 11,113 samples of 60 vegetable species – comes from the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg), an international agricultural research institute. The WorldVeg deposit includes seed samples of local varieties of rice bean, lablab and yard-long bean from two Indigenous communities.

Fredrik Kolbein from NordGen.
The seed boxes have been registered by Fredrik Kolbein from NordGen. Credit: NordGen

– We are delighted to welcome new members to the Svalbard family, said Sandra Borch, the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food. -The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a resource for the whole of humanity. Its aim is no less than to safeguard as much of our agricultural diversity as possible, said Borch.

– The recent heatwave in India highlights how vulnerable our crops – indeed, our food systems – are to the vagaries of climate, said Stefan Schmitz, Executive Director of the Crop Trust.

- The whole of humanity relies on the genetic diversity of crops maintained in the world’s genebanks, and the Seed Vault is the last line of defence against the loss of that diversity.

Among the eight other depositors are three international genebanks, the national genebank of Uganda and the US-based non-governmental organization Seed Savers Exchange, which is the only genebank in the world that has sent seeds to the Seed Vault every year since its opening in 2008.

Lise Lykke Steffensen, NordGen Executive Director, added; - With this latest deposit, the number of genebanks who have deposited seed for safekeeping in the Seed Vault rises to 91. And we look forward to seeing many more depositors back-up their irreplaceable crop diversity in the Seed Vault, including recipients of the grant scheme announced in October 2021.

Four boxes from the Swiss genebank at  Agroscope
Four boxes from the Swiss genebank at Agroscope (Station Federale de Recherches en Production Vegetale de Changins) Credit: NordGen

Svalbard June 2022 Deposit

Institute

Country

Seed samples (accessions)

Boxes

Genetic Resources Institute, University of Banja Luka

Bosnia & Herzegovina

270

1

World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg)

Island of Taiwan

11,113

59

Seed Savers Exchange

USA

99

1

Plant Breeding and Acclimatization Institute (IHAR)

Poland

1,025

3

International Potato Center (CIP)

Peru

81

1

Spanish Plant Genetic Resource Center

Spain

979

10

ICARDA, Lebanon

Lebanon

3,446

14

Uganda National Genebank

Uganda

169

1

AfricaRice

Côte d'Ivoire

1,142

2

Station Federale de Recherches en Production Vegetale de Changins

Switzerland

944

4

State Forest Service

Lithuania

123

1

Total

 

19,391

97

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was established and is owned by Norway and is operated in a partnership between the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food, NordGen (the Nordic countries’ regional genebank) and the Crop Trust. 

For further information, please contact: 

Svalbard Global Seed Vault jun-2022
Svalbard Global Seed Vault jun-2022 Credit: Christabel Clark/FAO