25 February, Svalbard Islands, Norway – The crates that arrived at the Global Seed Vault from Colombia were part of a record number of samples coming from around the world. By providing 904 bean accessions, the Cali genebank hit a CGIAR target for two back-up copies of 90 percent of the bank’s almost 38,000 bean accessions in two geographically distant locations. The other safety duplicates are at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico.
"This is the shipment that gets us over the finish line in terms of the CGIAR Genebank Platform’s performance target for safety duplication," said Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General of the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).
Restrepo joined 60 genebank representatives, the Prime Minister of Norway and several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Advocates at Svalbard on 25 February to officially receive the shipment and consign it to the vault. The Seed Vault opens its doors a couple of times a year to receive deposits, with this February deposit expected to be the largest in its history with more than 60,000 new seed sample duplicates deposited by 35 genebanks.
"Society needs to further acknowledge the huge importance of the efforts undertaken by 'genebankers' to safeguard agricultural biodiversity and ensure it can be used by current and future generations. Our food depends significantly on this," said Restrepo.