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Promoters of Seed Bank in Norway Awarded the World Food Prize

05/13/2024

 

Jeffery Hawtin and Cary Fowler have been awarded the World Food Prize for 2024.  The citation cites “Their long-standing contributions to seed conservation and crop biodiversity”.   In 2001, the scientists were active in establishing an international plant treaty to preserve crop genetics.  Hawtin and Fowler were instrumental in establishing the Nordic Gene Bank (NORDGEN) in 1984 on the island of Svalbard in Norway, located above the Arctic Circle. The initial repository was a disused mine in permafrost maintained at -3.5C. Subsequently in 2008 a permanent building was completed to house the collection.  The Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Norway is responsible for managing the seed repository, supported by contributions from international donors.