News story | Date: 02/02/2016
Norway will soon disburse near 800 000 NOK to the International Plant Treaty Fund for benefit sharing. This amounts to 0.1 percent of the value of the agricultural seeds and plant material trade in Norway in 2015. This annual contribution from Norwegian agriculture is made in recognition of the contribution which farmers in developing countries are making to preserve plant diversity.
– Gene resources are the basis for all food production, and it is important to preserve the genetic diversity both in gene banks and on farmers' fields. At Svalbard Global Seed Vault Norway offers safe storage of seeds from all the world's gene banks. Norway also actively supports the International Plant Treaty, providing an annual contribution to the Fund for benefit sharing, State Secretary Ms Hanne Maren Blaafjelldal said.
In the fall of 2015 Ms Blaafjelldal participated as representatives from the Quechua people of Peru deposited potato seeds in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Communities of Quechua people have been recipients of funds from the Fund for benefit sharing. Through this project they could return from the international potato gene bank with virus free varieties that they had ceased to cultivate, but which due to climate change now yield better crops.
Farmers in developing countries have a particularly important role, because the greatest diversity of plant gene diversity of crops like potato, barley and wheat are found in their fields. It remains an international responsibility to recognize farmers' contributions to global genetic plenty, and it is important that the world supports efforts to make this diversity available to farmers and processors in the future.
The International Plant Treaty has led to the establishment of an international system for access to gene resources from the most important crop plants. The Fund for benefit sharing is the remit nexus for equitable sharing of benefits from the food trade made possible by genetic resources. The Fund distributes funds to projects and measures that aim at conservation and sustainable use of plant gene resources among farmers in developing countries.