Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seeds of the world in Norway

A news report yesterday in IHT said that the global vault seed has been opened in Norway. And not just in Oslo or its surrounding areas, but somewhere up, just 1,000 kms. from the north pole. And despite the thick ice there, the Norwegian government even put a big air-con to keep the temperature at least -18 C always, so that the seeds should be preserved for up to 1,000 years or more. Wow!

I am glad that the Norwegian government thought of this and actually did it. Within the next century or more, many of those crops and plants whose seeds are deposited in that vault would be gone or extinct and replaced by hybrid varieties which are more likely to be genetically-modified.

Although I am in favor of genetic modification and application of modern science to crops to produce food products that are more high-yielding and more tolerant against certain pests, insects and fungi (hence, little or no need for chemical pesticides, insecticides, fungicides), I also believe that preserving the seeds of many of those "traditional" crops will be very important.
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http://www.iht. com/articles/ ap/2008/02/ 26/europe/ EU-GEN-Norway- Doomsday- Vault.php

Global seed vault opens in Norway
The Associated Press
Published: February 26, 2008

LONGYEARBYEN, Norway: Norway's "doomsday" seed vault, built to protect millions of food crops from being wiped out in wars or natural disasters, had European leaders thinking biblically.

"This is a frozen Garden of Eden," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said at the opening ceremony Tuesday, as guests carried the first seed deposits into the icy vault, deep within an Arctic mountain in the remote Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.

"It is the Noah's Ark for securing biological diversity for future generations, " said Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. Svalbard Global Seed Vault, just 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) from the North Pole, is designed to house as many as 4.5 million crop seeds from all over the world. It is built to withstand global warning, earthquakes and even nuclear strikes....