HomeDepositing seeds

Depositing seeds

Being a Seed Vault depositor requires that the gene bank sign a depositor agreement and comply with the provisions. The inter-related and step wise cooperation between NordGen as operator of the Seed Vault and the depositing institute can be seen in this down-loadable Seed deposit process.

By April 2017, 73 gene bank collections have deposited security seed copies in Svalbard Global Seed Vault.


There are three main conditions, reflected in the depositor agreement, that must be fulfilled by gene banks and institutes that want to deposit safety duplicates of seeds in the Seed Vault:

  1. The depositing gene bank / institute is conserving the material that is to be deposited, as a part of a long term and sustainable gene bank collection, incl. capacity and routines for multiplication of new seeds when needed.
  2. The depositor should certify that the samples being deposited in the Seed Vault have been safety duplicated in a suitable gene bank, in order to make the Seed Vault the second security back up.
  3. The depositor should agree to make available from their own stocks seed samples of the deposited genetic resources for breeding, research and education purposes on terms similar to the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and its Standard Material Transfer Agreement (sMTA).
Gene banks are encouraged to label their boxes with institute names, countries, logos, etc. Different labels underline the diversity of the Seed Vault project, also regarding nations and partners.

The process

Once the depositor agreement has been signed, the depositor prepares the accession list. Guidelines and template could be found here. The accession list should be submitted to NordGen at least six weeks before shipment. NordGen validates and uploads the data preliminary in the Seed Portal database, provides an Import permission document from the Norwegian Food Authority and gives a go for shipment. Address for the shipment of seeds can be found below.

The depositing gene bank chose their own logistic partner for the shipment of seed boxes/parcels to Oslo Airport, Gardermoen in Norway, where NordGens partner Jetpak, takes over the responsibility for further transfer to Svalbard. The sender should forward the Airway Bill Number (AWB) provided by the freight company to NordGen, which makes it possible to track the shipment on its way to Svalbard.

Free of charge

For security reasons, all seed boxes are scanned before they are taken into the Seed Vault, to ensure that only seed pouches are inside.

Depositing and storing seeds in the Seed Vault, including handling of boxes in Svalbard is free of charge. However, the depositor must cover the freight charge to Gardermoen and further transfer provided by Jetpak to Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

As NordGen has no permanent staff for handling of seeds and boxes in Svalbard, shipment of seeds must be done in accordance with preset dates for Seed Vault openings, which are announced in the Calendar. The handling process carried out by NordGen in Svalbard, comprise security scanning of all seed boxes and packages in the ordinary security system in Longyearbyen airport, labelling of all boxes with institute codes, box numbers and shelf location code.

When the boxes are well in place in the Seed Vault, the depositor institute receives an email or an SMS confirming that the seeds are well in place in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. And the Seed Portal webpage is updated with the correct numbers of seeds, crops and depositing institutes.

Address for seed shipments:

Fridtjof Nansens vei,
Gardermoen airport
N-2061 Gardermoen / Norway
Phone + 47 63 94 54 00

Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Attn.: NordGen / Åsmund Asdal
Phone + 47 91 36 51 66