Svalbard seed vault to take Peruvian potato samples
Potatoes are the world's most important non-cereal crop. They've been eaten for about 8,000 years.
however, native species from the Peruvian highlands are
at risk. Now farmers are sending 1,500 varieties of
potatoes to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in the Arctic
This "doomsday vault" will protect the potatoes' futures.
The Peruvian potatoes come from Cusco Potato Park, a 10,000 hectare farm in Peru. The Park was created by six indigenous communities to protect the region's biodiversity and food security. More than 4,000 varieties of native potatoes grow in the Andes.
One variety headed for Svalbard -- the "bride's potato"
-- dates back to Incan times. Brides traditionally
peeled these potatoes to prove they had the necessary
skills to be a good wife
"Climate change will mean that traditional methods of
maintaining this collection can no longer provide
absolute guarantees," said Lino Mamani from the "potato guardians" collective.
"Sending seeds to the [vault] will help us to provide a
valuable back-up collection - the vault was built for
the global community and we are going to use it."
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