As global supply chains grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the safeguarding of food security is of dire concern to governmental and agri-food stakeholders. Speaking to representatives of the world’s leading seed vaults, FoodIngredientsFirst explores the role of gene banks in conserving crop diversity during times of global crises. In the past, such facilities have played an integral part in rehabilitating the loss of valuable crop species during major catastrophes – something that is heightened as the world faces this unprecedented pandemic.
Commenting on how the world’s seed vaults are preparing for COVID-19’s impact on agricultural supply, Luis Salazar, Communications Manager at the Global Crop Diversity Trust, says, “It is too early to tell whether gene banks will be so severely affected in their operations that they may lose some of their collections. If they do, they will be able to retrieve seeds from their back-up facilities, including the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.”