HomeGlobal Seed VaultFirst seeds from Slovakia deposited in the Svalbard twilight

First seeds from Slovakia deposited in the Svalbard twilight

Date: 25.10.2019 Author: Sara Landqvist Category: Global Seed Vault

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

In the end of October, the polar night is not far away in Svalbard. In just a few weeks the sun will go down behind the mountains not to return until March next year. However, as the Slovakian seeds were deposited, the sun was still up and created a stunning pink background to the event, which was an important act for protecting food security.

“Climate change is a big problem and genetic diversity is declining in both our country and in the rest of the world. If we want to protect the diversity, we must also protect the seeds. It is very important, not only for the Slovak people but for the entre world” said said Gabriela Matecna, Slovakian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Joint effort

The Slovakian minister was accompanied by the Norwegian Minister of Agriculture and Food, Olaug Vervik Bollestad. Together they carried the first box of seeds through the main entrance of the Seed Vault.

“As we see the effects of climate change, it’s more important than ever to safeguard the seeds we need to produce food. We also know that genebanks are among the first things that are destroyed in wars. So protecting seeds is also important in a peace perspective, as part of building nations and helping future generations“, Bollestad said..

New depositors

As earlier announced, this occasion was also the first time seeds from Poland were deposited in the Seed Vault. Further, the genebank of Sudan also sent seed as well as ICARDA. ICARDA actually sent almost one hundred boxes as part of their program for rebuilding the Aleppo genebank in Morocco and Lebanon. As Poland and Slovakia also have decided to deposit seeds, Svalbard Global Seed Vault now have 78 institutions represented.

Åsmund Asdal, frövalvskoordinator“We are also happy to confirm that Romania recently signed a depositor’s agreement and is planning to send seeds. In other words, 2019 was yet another good year for the Seed Vault. But we still encourage more genebanks to deposit seeds” said Åsmund Asdal, Seed Vault Coordinator at NordGen.

The next seed deposit will take place in February 2020. At that time, the second of the three Seed Vault rooms will probably need to be taken into use as the first room is almost filled up.