The Ministry of Agriculture and Food, on behalf of Norway, recently contributed NOK 683,000 to a Benefit Sharing Fund that has been created under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).
The fund has been created to stimulate the preservation and development of plant genetic resources among individual farmers, especially in developing countries.
Norway has played an active role in both the work of formulating the treaty and its implementation. Among other things, the treaty is a foundation for the establishment of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
Norway makes a financial contribution to the fund equivalent to 0.1 per cent of the value of sales of seeds in Norway - or approximately NOK 600,000 - 700,000 a year. The contribution is financed from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food's budget.
Food production must be doubled
"We believe this is the most direct method of increasing the developing countries' ability to improve, preserve and exploit cultivated plants in their own fields - and of course ensure food for their families," says Minister of Agriculture and Food Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.
"The world's food production must be doubled over the course of the next 40 years if we are to meet the global population increase and prevent famine. All countries will be dependent on having plant material that can tolerate climate difficulties and make the best possible use of growing conditions," continues Slagsvold Vedum.
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is the most important international agreement for ensuring secure access to genetic resources across national borders for farmers, plant breeders and researchers.
The fair distribution of revenues and benefits from the use of the resources is one of the treaty's fundamental principles, which is why the Benefit Sharing Fund has been set up.
Improved organisation of small farmers and ensuring their access to production resources such as earth, water and seeds is central to securing the world's food supplies. (Photo: Jørgen Schytte/Scanpix)