For the first time, French seeds will be deposited into the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway.
On June 22, 700 grains of the Festival and Sideral varieties of wheat were chosen, under the patronage of Agro Paris Bourse, for permanent conservation in the vault. A collaboration between Agro Paris Bourse, INRA, Business France and Syngenta made the historic choice possible.
Sygenta sold the two varieties for approximately 20 years, starting in the early 1980s, before they were donated to the INRA’s Center for Biological Resources. During this period, the varieties were popular among growers because of their high levels of germination, yield performance and bread-making quality. The two varieties were chosen for the vault based on their unique characteristics and adaptability to different environmental conditions.
“Conserving historic seed varieties is extremely important to the diversity and sustainability of agriculture,” Syngenta’s Director of Public Affairs France Marie-Cécile Lebas said. “We are delighted to be associated with this initiative which is the result of a great collaborative effort by all partners. We fervently hope that this will encourage and facilitate future deposits of valuable French seeds in the Global Seed Vault”.
Since its establishment in February 2008, the Global Seed Vault has collected seeds for over 4,000 plant species, including beans, wheat and rice.