Asmund Asdalit, coordinator at the Global Seed Vault seed bank, browses through boxes containing seeds from all over the world. AFP / Helene DAUSCHY
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A cavernous bunker on a remote island above the Arctic Circle, where polar bears roam, holds the key to 12,000 years of agriculture but also to food supplies for future generations with countries urged to deposit seed samples there.It holds nearly 1 million seed samples from the world's gene banks – an agricultural backup in the event of disasters ranging from nuclear war to climate change.That means the world needs to produce more food that is more nutritious, and to do so "on less land, with less water, less pesticides, less fertilizer to keep within what the planet can stand," Haga said.The answer could lie in a modest room in the vault, measuring 12 meters by 27 meters, where nations have deposited seed samples of food crops for safekeeping, she said.In the decade since the vault was founded, 73 institutions have deposited crop-seeds at this so-called Bank of Last Resort.
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