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The Seed Vault in Norway is the World's Biggest Source of Food

Updated on February 2, 2015
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German pink tomatoWild strawberry (inset red arrow) is sourced from Alsunupan volcano in RussiaSome seeds will be viable for a millenium or more; barley 2000 yrs., wheat 1700 yrs.; sorghum 20,ooo yrs.
German pink tomato
German pink tomato
Wild strawberry (inset red arrow) is sourced from Alsunupan volcano in Russia
Wild strawberry (inset red arrow) is sourced from Alsunupan volcano in Russia
Some seeds will be viable for a millenium or more; barley 2000 yrs., wheat 1700 yrs.; sorghum 20,ooo yrs.
Some seeds will be viable for a millenium or more; barley 2000 yrs., wheat 1700 yrs.; sorghum 20,ooo yrs.

Man needs food

WITHOUT food man may live but not for long. It is basic that if he's to grow and develop, he must be sustained with all the necessary food nutrients found in food. Having this necessity in mind, governments have made crucial steps to insure that their nationals have ready access of food for their daily needs. For this reason- as is the case of the Philippines, the National Food Authority has to store sacks of rice annually in its bodega and even had to go to the extent of importing rice from its Asian neighbors so it could address the daily dietary needs of its populace and avert rice crisis as well.

Seed bank

Another very laudable step that the government has done for the food security of its governed is the erection of seed bank or vault where planting seeds are sold at minimal costs and often distributed free especially after a calamity struck such as typhoon and flashflood.. Despite weather disturbances- I am proud to say that the country has never experienced serious food shortage. In my 72 years of existence, I have never let a day pass so do with my family and relatives without eating food. I am especially thanking God for this as well as for the lowly farmers who do the backbreaking job of planting crops from early morn to the late hours in the afternoon.

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Food security in every home

Food security is vital in every home, in every nation. When people had nothing to buy they'll have nothing to eat. There will be famine and most probably they'll rise up in arms. I can still recall to mind the fate that had happened to Romania's Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his darling wife, Elena, who on the 25th day of December, 1989 were executed by the military's firing squad for enriching themselves in office and leaving almost nothing for their subjects to eat. Let our leaders take a good lesson from such turn of events. Think of ways to store food, seeds and foodstuff while the sun shines. And when the proverbial rainy days come, people will be happy and smiling because their stomach are full.

Norway global seed vault

Along this line, we have to thank the intrepid and selfless individuals and organizations who came to think of putting up the NORWAY GLOBAL SEED VAULT. Located in Norway's remote Svalbard archipelago, Norway Global Seed Vault, which is some 620 miles or 1000 kilometers from the North Pole- is a safeguard against wars and natural calamities that have erased food crops the world over. Opened on February 26, 2008, it is a master backup to the world's other 1,400 seed genebanks in case their deposits are lost. It is worth noting that the ongoing raging war in Afghanistan and Iraq has already wiped out their seed banks. Another seed bank was lost in the Philippines when it was flooded in 2006 caused by a typhoon.

Designed to withstand global warming, etc.

This doomsday seed bank or vault was designed to withstand global warming, earthquakes and even nuclear strikes. It is constructed 120 meters or 390 feet inside a sandstone mountain at Svalbard on Spitsbergen Island. Spitsbergen was considered ideal due to its lack of tectonic activity and its permafrost which will aid preservation. At its location, 430 feet above sea level will ensure that the site remains dry even if the icecaps melt. The threat of global warming was given due consideration in the design and construction of the facility. Even if global warming worsen, the vault rooms will remain naturally frozen for 200 years. To keep it cool, the facility is fanned by a single 10-kilowatt compressor. With all the necessary technology put in place with the temperature maintained at minus 20 degrees celsius or about minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit, some seeds in the vault will be viable for a millennium or more. Barley can last 2000 years, wheat 1,700 years and sorghum almost 20,000 years.

Repository of seeds

Norway Global Seed Vault is by far the world's most comprehensive and diverse repository of seeds ever assembled. During its opening day- a shipment of 100 million seeds coming from 100 donor-countries was unveiled.

Facility houses 1/3 of world's crop seeds

Presently- the collection hits a milestone, it now collected a total of one-half million seed samples. In totality- the facility now houses one-third of the world's crop seeds. Among the collection are unique varieties of African and Asian food staples such as maize, rice wheat, cowpea and sorghum, European and South American varieties of eggplant, lettuce, barley, potato, hardy German pink tomato, wild and cultivated soybeans, semi-dwarf wheat, rice cultivars, wild Russian strawberry and a lot of others.


The seed vault is managed under agreement by 3 bodies- the Norwegian government, Norway's Nordic Genetic Resources Center and Global Crop Diversity Trust whose trust head Cary Fowler oversees seed collections. The seed vault facility which cost approximately 45 million Norwegian kroner or US$9 M was shouldered solely by the Norwegian government.. Seed depositing countries are free from paying storage fee for depositing seeds. The operational cost of the facility is shouldered by Norway and the Global Crop Diversity Trust which get its fund from the Bill and Meloinda Gates Foundation, UK, Norway, Australia, Switzerland and Sweden. Funds from developing countries such as Brazil, Ethiopia, Columbia and India have likewise been received.



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