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World Seed Banks Get Funds to Tackle Climate, Other Threats


Science & Tech  (tags: climate, climate-change, climatechange, world, weather, Sustainabililty, science, research, water, GoodNews, globalwarming, globalwarming, protection, scientists, world, interesting )

JL
- 542 days ago - trust.org
* Funding to secure stores of 700,000 seeds of food crops * Salt-resistant rice helped Sri Lanka after tsunami



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JL A. (272)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 11:08 am
World seed banks get funds to tackle climate, other threats

Thu, 31 Jan 2013 00:01 GMT

Source: reuters // Reuters

A Palestinian woman harvests wheat on a farm in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 9, 2011. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

* Funding to secure stores of 700,000 seeds of food crops

* Salt-resistant rice helped Sri Lanka after tsunami

By Environment Correspondent Alister Doyle

OSLO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Scientists have agreed on a $109 million plan to strengthen the world's biggest seed banks of crops such as rice and wheat to help protect and develop new varieties resistant to climate change and other threats.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust and the CGIAR Consortium of agricultural researchers said on Thursday that a five-year plan would help secure storage of more than 700,000 samples of crops at 11 existing gene banks from the Philippines to Belgium.

"This will drive the creation of a real global system" to help safeguard food crops, Cary Fowler, outgoing head of the Bonn-based Trust, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The funds will allow the collections to expand, put more information about genetic makeup of seeds on the Internet, and enable duplication of more seeds, partly to ensure that conflicts such as those occurring now in Syria or Mali do not wreck collections.

Plant breeders often need quick access to seed banks to develop new varieties -- Sri Lanka, for instance, successfully exploited salt-tolerant strains of rice in a seed bank after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami flooded coastal paddies.

And researchers are searching gene banks for varieties with natural traits to resist drought, floods, insect pests, disease or extreme heat - all likely to become more common because of global warming.

The 11 seed banks house the world's largest and most diverse collections of food crops including wheat, maize, rice, potato, banana, sorghum and beans, according to the Trust and CGIAR, formerly known as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research. Both are mainly funded by governments.

Over the past 10 years, the seed banks have distributed more than a million samples to crop breeders and researchers in efforts to improve world food security.

The new $109 million deal is a way to get round what a statement from the Trust and CGIAR called "inconsistent funding" in the past that would create a "firmer financial footing".

SYRIA, MALI

Officials recently had to transport seeds from a CGIAR facility in Aleppo, Syria. "The last samples were put on a truck and carried over the border to Turkey just a couple of weeks before fighting broke out in Aleppo," Fowler said.

Better gene banks are meant to help food security, threatened by price spikes. "If our gene banks suffer, our research suffers," Frank Rijsberman, head of the CGIAR Consortium, said in a statement.

The Trust also runs a "doomsday vault" high on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, meant to store seeds of all the world's plants in case of, for instance, a nuclear war. But it is not open for day-to-day research.

"Svalbard was never set up to provide direct access to breeders. It was always a safety deposit box," Fowler said.

Keeping seed banks is costly because seeds need to be tested for health and replaced when too old. Funds are also needed for conserving plants that produce seeds that are hard to store, such as bananas. The Trust is seeking new ways to freeze seeds, known as cryopreservation. (Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
 

Michael Kirkby (83)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 11:14 am
I wonder who is really controlling this? Monsanto and their ilk certainly profited from all the WB and IMF loans to indentured third world countries in 80s and 90s by not only destroying their infrastructure; raping and pillaging the natural resources but by also exporting all the native seeds and then selling them back GMO seeds at a high price. This further exacerbated the plight of the farmers and people in general. Of course the 10% of the indigenous elite and favored by the PTBs lack for nothing.
 

Roger Garin-michaud (61)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 12:41 pm
noted, thanks !
 

greenplanet e. (157)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 4:32 pm
Good to have seed banks and save and distribute heritage varieties of plants.
 

Linda R. (17)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 5:06 pm
Noted. I hope that none of these seeds are used to promote GMO's. I understand developing resistant seeds or plants but it has to be done so that none of the nutritional value is lost and that they aren't assisting in long term illnesses.
 

John B. (215)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 5:33 pm
Thanks J.L. for the post.This certainly beats GE seeds. Read and noted.
 

JL A. (272)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 5:43 pm
You are welcome Roger and John.
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Terry V. (30)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 6:17 pm
Thanks

SAVE PLANET EARTH
 

JL A. (272)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 8:08 pm
You are welcome Terry and thank you for posting the link to the short topical video! You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last week.
 

Lin Penrose (92)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 8:47 pm
Noted & thanks J.L. Not sure this is good news or not. Humans are already consuming this planet at a rapid rate. More food means more consumers of other resources that will be in short supply soon. Clean water, air, more energy demands. The food produced will be contaminated with all the herbicides, pesticides we seem to need. With fewer of the planet's natural recycling systems able to clean up our incredible messes in a geologically reasonable time frame. So, perhaps all will balance out with us eating ourselves and many other life forms to death. A brave new world may follow!
 

JL A. (272)
Sunday February 3, 2013, 9:01 pm
You are welcome Lin. You posit an interesting vision of what the future may hold in store for us all! You cannot currently send a star to Lin because you have done so within the last week.
 

Kerrie G. (135)
Monday February 4, 2013, 4:33 am
Noted, thanks.
 

John S. (297)
Monday February 4, 2013, 5:17 am
Noted.
 

JL A. (272)
Monday February 4, 2013, 7:55 am
You're welcome Kerrie.
 

Melania Padilla (173)
Monday February 4, 2013, 10:14 am
Thanks
 

JL A. (272)
Monday February 4, 2013, 3:14 pm
You are welcome Melania
 
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