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Colombia Will Have The Largest Seed Bank In The World

On Thursday, March 15, the largest germplasm bank in the world for beans, cassava and tropical foliage was inaugurated in Palmira, Valle del Cauca. Its name is Seeds of the Future. Learn about its importance .

Facade of the Seed Bank in Colombia

Photo: TW-ZeaNavarro

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: Colombia tendrá el banco de semillas más grande del mundo

Seeds of the Future is a global innovation hub that will contribute to the conservation of diversity and innovation in agriculture, in order to ensure good quality crops that are resistant to today's environmental challenges. Seeds of the Future will have the capacity to store around 250,000 seeds.

This genetic bank is an initiative of the organizations Biodiversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture that have joined in an alliance. However, it is a project that has the support of various sectors, both public and private. It was inaugurated with the presence of the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Rodolfo Zea. "With #SemillasDelFuturo we are going to develop improved varieties for the most vulnerable populations in the world," the Minister said on his Twitter account. On the other hand, this innovation center also received 17 million dollars from the Bezos Earth Fund foundation, the foundation that was created by the founder of Amazon.

What is its importance?

This center will function as a bank of knowledge and genetic material that will contribute to the future of food security for the entire world. In this way, it will be a custody center, of incalculable value for humanity, of tropical foods. Initially, it will have more than 67,000 different cassava, bean and tropical foliage materials from more than 75 countries. However, its mission will be to expand its variety and have a repository of other collections of tropical and wild crops.

In addition, Semillas del Futuro will have LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certification, becoming the first center of its kind to have such certification in the world. In this way, Colombia will become a world supplier of seeds for farmers. One of the main challenges facing researchers is to obtain seeds that adapt to climate change and guarantee food security for the planet. 

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Likewise, Seeds of the Future will have state-of-the-art technology and processes open to cooperation with scientists and organizations from all over the world. Its infrastructure is also an example of sustainability, as the building takes advantage of renewable resources to function properly. Likewise, it will work with artificial intelligence to produce real-time data that is useful for scientific development.

“The Biotechnology and Data Discovery Laboratory will facilitate discoveries, building on genomics and big data technologies, to continue improving crops for higher yields, better nutrition and climate resilience. Scientists around the world have free and open access to digital passports for these crops, accelerating collaboration and discovery,” says the Alliance, which brings together Biodiversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture.

Without a doubt, this initiative, unique in the planet, will be fundamental for the future of food in the whole world. It is an important achievement for Colombia that said initiative is in the country. Furthermore, “Seeds of the Future is one of 11 genebanks managed globally through the CGIAR network of agricultural research organizations and the only facility of its kind designed for education and training, with glass walls that allow visitors to see scientists in action”, according to the CGIAR consortium of research centers. In such a way that it will not only be a center for scientists, but it will also allow the population to be educated on issues of sustainability and agriculture.