Story of curating native seeds

The quest to collect seeds of native plant varieties has proved to be never ending for C. Yoganathan, a farmer of Thinnakonam village, near Musiri in Tiruchirapalli district of Tamil Nadu.

He started collecting the seeds in 2008 with the objective of preserving native breeds of vegetables, fruits, millets and pulses.

After a decade, he is now providing tonnes of seeds to farms and kitchen gardens through Agathiyar Farmers Producer Company, supported by NABARD. This is one of the few companies involved in native seed production in the State.

The company, which has 550 small and micro farmers as members, has seed production as one of its main objectives. It was formed in 2017 as a culmination of a series of seed festivals organised all over Tamil Nadu and in a few other States. “The inspiration to preserve native seed varieties came to me while meeting farmers along with Nammalvar, a green crusader.

“Identification and selection of native breeds took several years,” he says