Norway’s vault: world’s biggest depository of seeds

n.c.radomesStarred Page By n.c.radomes, 8th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Emergency Preparedness>Droughts & Water Shortages

War and armed conflicts are happening the world over. Coupled with damages wrought by typhoons, tornados, floods, droughts, etc. the world's economy and supply of food are greatly jeopardized. This is clear handwriting on the wall that man must do something to avert coming food crisis. Norway's government has interpreted this dismal sign perfectly by establishing a mammoth seed bank which can suuply the world's requirements when emergency time comes.


WITHOUT food man may live but not for long. It is basic that he must be sustained with all the necessary nutrients found in food. 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 vault or bank

Another very laudable step that the government has done for the food security of its governed is the establishment of seed bank or vault where planting seeds are kept and sold at minimal costs and often distributed free especially after occurrence of destructive typhoons and flash floods. Despite weather disturbances- I am thankful to God that the country has been spared from serious food shortage. In my 75 years of existence, I have never let a day pass, so do with my family and relatives, without eating food. I am especially thanking to the lowly farmers who do the backbreaking job of planting crops from early morn to the late hours in the afternoon.

Norway Global Seed Vault

Along this line, we 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.

Spitsbergen Island

Norway’s 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.

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.


Presently- the collection hits a milestone, it has 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.

How is Norway’s global seed vault run?

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 and founder 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 Melinda 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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Drought, Earthquake, Flood, Norway, Norways Seed Bank, Norways Seed Vault, Terrorism, Typhoon, Worlds Biggest Depository Of Seeds

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author avatar n.c.radomes
Retired government employee; finds hubbing, blogging on any interesting topic enjoyable.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
8th Jun 2013 (#)

Steve, thank you. You make me happy!

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