Food Storage

  • South Asia

    Refugee concern

  • Market pulse

    Market pulse

    Lahu Fale does not have to think twice about market availability, price and transportation when it comes to deciding which crops to grow. Now he and other farmers in Pune's Kolwan Valley can sell

  • Biofuels - An Assault on the World's Poor

    Western citizens want to use the limited land to produce ethanol rather than food for the poor.

  • Chickpea, sorghum: India sends seeds to Noah's Food Ark' deep in the Arctic

    Halfway between the northern coast of Norway and the North Pole in an archipelago called Svalbard, three enormous caverns have been blasted 130 m into the permafrost. Called the doomsday vault, it will be a Noah's Ark of food in the event of a global catastrophe. Among the world's 45,000 most important seeds stored in this Svalbard Global Seed Vault, there will be quite a bit of India too. Seeds of sorghum, pearl millet, chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut and six small millets will be transferred by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) from its headquarters in Patencheru, near Hyderabad to this location, 1000 km from the Arctic. William Dar, Director General of ICRISAT, is at Svalbard for the opening celebrations tomorrow. He will join European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmentalist Wangari Mathai in this global initiative. Norway is footing the $8.9-million bill for building the Arctic archipelago where, ironically, no crops grow. Secured behind an airlock door, the three airtight chambers can house duplicates of samples from the world's more than 1,400 existing seed banks. The Norwegian archipelago was selected for its inhospitable climate as well as its remote location. The seeds of wheat, maize, oats and other crops will be stored at a constant temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius, and even if the freezer system fails, the permafrost will ensure that temperatures never rise above 3.5 degrees Celsius below freezing. This project is important as some of the world's biodiversity has already disappeared, with gene vaults in both Iraq and Afghanistan destroyed by war and a seed bank in the Philippines annihilated by a typhoon. Seed banks have begun contributing: potato seeds from Peru; 30,000 samples of different beans from Colombia; 47,000 seed samples of wheat and 10,000 types of maize from Mexico and thousands of rice varieties from Philippines. Pakistan and Kenya, both wracked by serious unrest, have sent seed collections too. By the time of the inauguration on Tuesday, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will hold some 250,000 samples, which will remain the property of their countries of origin. According to Dar, ICRISAT's participation adds a special significance to the project

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