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Pavlovsk seed bank faces destruction - YOU CAN HELP!

31 August 2010

As Russia’s worst drought in 130 years continues to ignite catastrophic wildfires and ravage crops across the country, real estate developers are poised to bulldoze an incredibly valuable crop collection near St. Petersburg in order to build luxury houses on the land.

The Pavlovsk Station, founded  in 1926, now houses Europe’s largest collection of fruits and berries. 600 different apple varieties. A thousand strawberries. More than a thousand black and red currants, and hundreds of varieties of other fruits and berries. 5700 varieties in all, 90% of which are conserved nowhere else.

Sign the petition to save the Pavlovsk Station

To some, it may be just a bunch of fruits and berries. Indeed, the developers argued that because the collection was “priceless” it was also “worthless.”  Even the “minor crop” collections housed at the Station, however, can be credited with generating gigantic, recurring economic returns.  Some 60% of the black currant varieties grown in Russia, the world’s largest producer, were developed at Pavlovsk. It’s a crop that generates more than $400 million in farm sales annually in Russia. Throw in the collection’s importance to apple and strawberry and the other crops, and the significance of Pavlovsk becomes evident.

The take-over would involve bulldozing field collections amassed over the last century that contain thousands of varieties of apples, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, currants and other crops, 90 percent of which are not found anywhere else in the world.

The Pavlovsk Station matters because humanity needs crops to survive. As the climate changes and new threats to existing crop varieties appear, the ones we have now need to adapt, and the diversity found at the Pavlovsk Station provides this adaptation potential for a broad range of fruits and berries.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust has set up a petition to save the Pavlovsk Station - so , far this has gathered over 36,000 signatures BUT NEEDS MORE to persuade the political authorities of the importance of the irreplaceable crop diversity growing at Pavlovsk Station, and request that the judgment be revoked. Visit the petition and sign your support. The first plot of station land is due to go on the auction block on September 23rd so there is no time to waste!

You can also tweet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on behalf of Pavlovsk Station:

English: @KremlinRussia_E Mr. President, protect the future of food - save #Pavlovsk Station! 

Russian: @KremlinRussia Господин президент, защитите будущее сельского хозяйства - спасите Павловскую станцию! 

If we can get enough tweets and signatures, we're hoping that someone at the Kremlin will take notice and help us save Pavlovsk Station and protect our food supply for future generations.

One can only hope that the Russian leadership will reverse the court if and when the Russian leadership actually hears about the threat to the Pavlovsk Station and realises its importance.

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