Seeds of ancient potatoes added to Arctic seed vault

Norway preserves potatoes in seed vault | Courtesy of wikipedia.org

Ancient potato varieties that were once believed to be lost will now be saved in the Arctic seed vault in Norway for future generations.

These specific varieties of potato were first introduced to the larger world through the Andean people. Representatives from the indigenous Andean communities in Peru and Costa Rica placed the potato seeds inside the Svalbard vault in Norway on Aug. 27.

"This kind of international collaboration is vital for all of our futures,” Peru-based Association for Nature and Sustainable Development (ANDES) Representative Alejandro Argumedes said. “These seeds, and The Potato Park farmers who are the innovators and leaders of their preservation, have been on a remarkable journey - travelling over 11,000 kilometers from the mountains of Peru to Svalbard. Asociación ANDES is proud to have played its part."

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a back-up facility located north of the Arctic Circle in the permafrost. The vault currently houses more than 860,000 food crop seeds from around the world. The goal is to save the world’s crop diversity for future generations, current residents and the government of Norway.

"Today's deposit represents an important chapter in the global campaign to preserve our crop diversity forever and provides a perfect example of how in situ conservation and ex situ preservation can work together for the good of all,” Crop Trust Executive Ditector Marie Haga said. “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the director-general of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and our esteemed colleagues from Peru and Costa Rica to the seed vault today, for this hugely significant event."

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