Seed savers showcase ‘treasure’ at biodiversity festival in Delhi
New Delhi, 09 March 2014: At a two-day biodiversity festival held at the Sri Aurobindo Society lawns here on Saturday-Sunday, seed saver farmers from across the country showcased their treasure. The festival had more than 2300 varieties of seeds across cereals, pulses, oilseeds, millets and vegetables on display.
Seed savers criticized govt. and corporations for making farmers more dependent on external sources.
“Seed to farming is the same as oxygen for all living beings to stay alive. Today, unfortunately, with the governments and corporations increasing farmers’ dependency on external sources for this critical input, farmers’ lives and farming itself has become more vulnerable to the manipulations of such vested interests. I have been conserving 460 varieties of paddy seed in my farm for several years now, and urge other farmers to move towards self-reliance with regard to Seed,” said Natabar Sarangi, an 80-year old retired school teacher from Odisha.
preserved seeds at display in Delhi
The seed savers demanded that all passport information with India’s gene bank collections like the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) be treated as “prior art” so that biopiracy by others can be prevented. Further, sharing of seed resources by the NARS (National Agricultural Research Systems) should be brought under an ‘open source seed system’ so that no corporation acquires exclusive rights on seed material that essentially belongs to farm communities of India, the said.
Seed conservation groups from 17 states of India, like Sahaja Samrudha, Save Our Rice Campaign, Bhittibhoomi, Vividhaara, Beej Bachao Andolan, Sanjeevini Pebble Garden and others took part in the biodiversity festival in addition to individual farmers like Natabar Sarangi, Dr Debal Deb, Nagappa Nimbegondi etc.