We received several queries and comments from our readers pertaining to our article on Svalbard seeds posted here. So this article is a follow-up to that as an attempt to solve some of those doubts.
As one of our readers rightly pointed out, the Svalbard seed vault has been jointly funded by financial bigwigs like Bill Gates and Agrochemical giants such as Syngenta and Monsanto. Other investors include Rockefeller, and of course the Government of Norway. The Svalbard seed vault started as an attempt to solve food shortage and ensure seed preservation in case of a major catastrophic event. The very fact that it has more than 4 million seed samples raises the question: Since genetic modification has become an integral part of the world’s seed supplies, are the seeds in the vault genetically modified?
A bit of a premise for readers who are unfamiliar with the Svalbard Doomsday seed vault:
- Svalbard doomsday seed vault was established a few decades ago to preserve world’s natural food diversity should a calamity of massive proportions strike. Today, it is officially owned and administered by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food on behalf of the Kingdom of Norway.
- The Nordic Gene Bank maintains the vault’s public online database which you can view here. An International Advisory council has also been appointed to oversee the facility.
- Svalbard was mainly chosen because of its very cold climate and permafrost that will likely maintain the samples should air conditioning fail.
- The Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) has been supporting the operational costs of the vault.
Why has Svalbard seed vault come under the scrutiny of activists?
There are a number of reasons why Svalbard seed vault has come under the scrutiny of activists and these have nothing to do with the conspiracy theories surrounding doomsday and end of the world (SHTF) events.
- There are 10 multinational corporations heavily investing in genetically modified crop and seed technology which are controlling nearly 49% of the world seed market.
- Food varieties are getting extinct. Take the example of the apple seed -of the original 7000 varieties in the 1800s, today less than 100 remain.
- In China, over 90% of the wheat cultivated a century ago has disappeared.
- If experts are to be believed, half of the world’s food/seed varieties have disappeared.
- This is what is highly interesting: The GCDT or the Global Crop Diversity Trust that is maintaining the vault has publicly claimed that its main aim for the seed vault is to ensure conservation of crops and availability of crop diversity across the world. However, the Trust is openly linked to connections, companies and foundations whose vision of food security includes increased use of pesticides and patented GMOs.
- Bill Gates Foundation also has close working ties with Monsanto –in 2006, the Foundation hired former VP of Monsanto as their senior Program Director for their International Agriculture Development Program. Read more about the ties between Bill Gate Foundation and Monsanto here.
- Another issue concerning activists is the fact that DuPont Pioneer seeds and Syngenta have both donated to the GCDT. Both these companies together own nearly 25% of world’s commercial seeds and are also leaders and pioneers in the plant genetic and agro-biotechnology field. Moreover, these companies are not particularly known for their altruistic concerns and the very diversity they are claiming to preserve by donating to GCDT is what they have been destroying for years through genetic engineering.
The most obvious answers to these questions pertaining to their involvement in the vault are: by controlling this Global seed vault, these chemical giants are further trying to gain control over the world’s plant seed genetics. A legal memorandum has also confirmed this for a fact that the agreement between Svalbard and these chemical corporations is to create a beneficial arrangement for the latter. It won’t be too surprising if we discover that the seed samples in the vault are GMO.
This treaty (the legal agreement) between the Vault and seed suppliers is highly complex and fraught with difficult nitty-gritty of International Laws. In the meantime, the GCDT is trying to acquire more samples from local collectors most of who have no idea what is going to happen to their seed samples. For further reading on the results of the damage that such local usurping of seeds by Svalbard advocates - click here.