'We will feed the world in 50 years': Scientists behind giant seed vault win World Food Prize

Country: Australia 'We will feed the world in 50 years': Scientists behind giant seed vault win World Food Prize
09 May 2024

The story of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, inaugurated in 2008, unfolds against the backdrop of a world grappling with the challenges of food security and environmental change. With over 1.25 million seed samples from nearly every nation, it serves as a beacon of hope for safeguarding agricultural biodiversity. The 2024 World Food Prize laureates, Cary Fowler and Geoffrey Hawtin, are celebrated for their pivotal roles in its inception. Their vision stemmed from a deep-seated concern about the vulnerability of global crop diversity to political upheavals and climate shifts.

Their journey began in 2004 when they embarked on an audacious mission to establish a fail-safe repository for the world's crop seeds. This endeavor culminated in the creation of the 'Doomsday vault,' nestled within the icy confines of a mountain on a Norwegian island in the Arctic Circle. The vault's strategic location, coupled with its state-of-the-art infrastructure, ensures the long-term preservation of seeds in perpetuity.

Fowler and Hawtin's foresight was driven by the recognition that climate change posed an existential threat to global agriculture. They foresaw a future where traditional crop varieties could succumb to new pests, diseases, and environmental stresses. In response, they championed the need for a secure backup seed vault to serve as a genetic reservoir for future breeding efforts.

Their efforts were not without challenges. Initial skepticism greeted their proposal, with some dismissing it as impractical or unnecessary. However, Fowler and Hawtin remained undeterred, fueled by their conviction that preserving crop diversity was a moral imperative. Their perseverance paid off when the Svalbard Global Seed Vault opened its doors to the world, symbolizing a triumph of human ingenuity and cooperation.

Today, as the specter of climate change looms large, the importance of the seed vault has never been greater. Fowler and Hawtin's legacy extends beyond the vault's physical confines; it serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and forward thinking in addressing humanity's most pressing challenges. Their recognition as World Food Prize laureates underscores the vital role of seed preservation in ensuring food security for future generations. As the torchbearers of Norman Borlaug's legacy, they inspire us to confront the uncertainties of tomorrow with courage, resilience, and hope.

Please find original version of article below: 

The information shared by the Islamic Organization for Food Security (“IOFS”) on (the “Site”) serves solely for general informational purposes. As a non-profit international organization, IOFS provides this information in good faith, with no intention to commercialize, profit, or exploit any content. Commercial use, including reselling, charging for access, redistribution, or creating derivative works, such as unofficial translations based on these documents, is strictly prohibited. All posts, publications, texts, and any other information on the Site, owned by authors and references, are appropriately linked.

IOFS disclaims any liability for loss or damage of any kind resulting from the use of the Site. Your understanding and compliance with these terms contribute to maintaining the informative and non-commercial nature of our platform.