21-May-2012 17:54 IST
Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dr. Charan Das Mahant today gave away awards and certificates to farming communities and individuals for conservation of biodiversity.
For this year the Plant Genome Saviour Community Awards are being given to four farming communities for their contribution in saving traditional plant varieties.
Shyamsunder Sister Nivedita Sangha, Burdwan, West Bengal gets the award for developmental services to rural and agricultural sector including conservation and preservation of traditional rice varieties.
Pokkali Rice Farming Community, Ernakulam, Kerala receives the award for organic farming system for sustainable growth of rice in low saline phase. Pokkali variety selected and conserved by farmers is inherently tolerant to salinity and submergence.
Wayanad District Development Action Council, Wayanad, Kerala is engaged in overall development of the tribal communities of Wayanad and adjoining districts in Malabar Agro-biodiversity hot-spot of India. It has conserved traditional landraces of rice and encouraged traditional agricultural system. The conservation efforts of the Council not only promoted bio-diversity, indigenous and cultural diversity but also played an important role in enhancing the food and nutritional security.
Tamil Nadu Hill Banana Growers’ Federation, Dindigul, Tamil Nadu is working in the Pulney hills in Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu, which is the home of famous Virupakshi Hill Banana. The community revived this banana as it is tolerant to the bunchy-top virus disease with their conservation and preservation.
The award carries Rs. 10.00 lakhs in cash, a citation and a memento to the representatives of the above farmers’ community.
Besides, 7 farmers/communities were given Plant Genome Saviour Recognition Certificates.
Presenting the Awards and Certificates, the Minister lauded farming communities’ role in conservation of biodiversity, He said:
In compliance to its international commitments under Trade-Related Aspects of intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), India enacted the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act in 2001 for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new plant varieties.
India is the first country in the world which has enacted such legislation which protects the rights of farmers, groups of farmers, communities and tribal populations in respect of their contributions made at time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of the new varieties of plants.
The Government of India has established a Gene Fund for supporting the activities of conservation and preservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Under this Fund, Plant Genome Saviour Community Awards have been established to provide due recognition and support the persons engaged in such activities.
(Source: PTI, GoI, Ministry of Agriculture)