New Role for Heirloom Seeds


ImageSeed vaults usually conjure up dark images of a post catastrophe future when the planet is devastated and the protected seeds need to be brought into use. But a recent story, showed a different side: an appreciation of the benefits that we can derive from heirloom varieties of seeds today itself. As we prepare to deal with the impact of climate change, these vaults may be sources of varieties that are better able to withstand drought or heavy rain. The emphasis during the last century was increased productivity as the pressure to feed a growing population was intense. At this moment, however, we need to nuance our choices in the presence of constraints. The yield has to increase but this effort needs to be respectful of the environment as well.

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