Australia looks to ensure its long-term food security by sending more than 10,000 seed varieties to Norway’s Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The Australian Pastures Genebank (APG) in South Australia has collected and processed more than 84,000 lots of pasture seed from around the country.

The seed lots will be delivered to the seed vault in February to coincide with vault’s the 10-year anniversary. It will be one of the largest single deposits ever made.

APG Curator Steve Hughes says sending the seed to the vault will ensure the long-term survival of Australia’s crops.

“All of these seeds that are collected by the Australian Grains Genebank and the Australian Pastures Greenbank are important to Australia’s agriculture,” he says. “So one of the things we need to make sure of is that we have them all backed up offsite and that’s why we are sending them to the Global Seed Vault.”

The seeds will be preserved at Svalbard in permafrost deep inside a mountain on the remote island of Spitsbergen.

Based at the Waite Campus in South Australia’s capital Adelaide, the APG is Australia’s first forage center. It is led by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), with support from various government departments and industry peak bodies.

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