In the remote Norwegian town of Longyearbyen, just 1000 kilometres from the North Pole, politicians from around the world came to celebrate the opening of the world’s first global seed bank. After years of difficult negotiations and searching for the right spot, this was deemed to be the safest place on earth. Eventually, 4,5 million seed samples will be stored in this “Doomsday Vault” and ensure the continued existence of biodiversity.
But is the dream of global food security a mere utopia? By 2050, temperatures worldwide are expected to rise by at least 2 degrees. This will result in a 30 per cent drop in production of food crops. At the same time, global food demand will have doubled. How will we feed the world population?
In “Seed Warriors” we hear from the scientists behind this ambitious project and examine the reality of the fight against hunger. In drought-stricken Kenya we meet Zachary Muthamia, director of the national seed bank. He is using the few resources available to him to secure the biodiversity of his country and prepare copies of Kenya’s unique hereditary material for transport to Norway before his energy-guzzling generators finally snuff it. In Nairobi we meet Marianne Bänziger, the world’s leading maize expert. She wants to make use of the same biodiversity to develop non-genetically modified seed type that yields a 20 to 30 percent bigger harvest than today’s seeds and that is drought resistant.
But time is running out.