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Documentary: Seeds of War

Ali Shehadeh, ICARDA scientist, in Terbol Station, Lebanon (Photo: Sébastien Mesquida)

Established in 1985, ICARDA's genebank offers a valuable collection of resources for drylands agrobiodiversity. It holds in trust more than 157,000 accessions and has a unique collection ranking among the most important worldwide: faba bean, lentil, barley, chickpea, Lathyrus, forages, and wheat. These collections are rich in landraces and wild relative species, collected from Central and West Asia and North and East Africa regions.

With the establishment of new gene banks in Lebanon and Morocco in 2016, ICARDA has been reconstructing its gene collections, in addition to the main genebank in Syria, through intensive regeneration efforts. From the Crop Trust’s Vault in Svalbard, 38,000 accessions were obtained and regenerated in 2016 and 2017. An additional 54,000 accessions retrieved from Svalbard in September 2017 are currently being regenerated.

The ARTE TV documentary Seeds of War, produced by Sébastien Mesquida, tells a story of how ICARDA scientists saved the collection from the conflict in Syria.

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