‘Conserving indigenous seed varieties need of the hour’
TNN Apr 29, 2013, 02.45AM IST
NAGPUR: Conserving and preserving the indigenous and traditional seed varieties and the overall biodiversity of the country is the need of the hour to counter the increased invasion of biotech and genetically modified crops, said speakers at a seed fair on Sunday.
Speakers at the three-day seed fair-cum seminar organized by a group of organizations working in organic and natural farming voiced their concern over agricultural issues and food security. These organizations included Samvad, Srujan, Gram Samasya Mukti Trust, Dry Land Farming Group, Aamhi Amchya Arogya Sathi and Nisargayan. They called for a direct relationship between the consumer and the farmer to not just bring quality and cheaper produce to consumers, but also seek a feedback on what the consumer wanted from the farmers.
The organizers felicitated veterans like Rambhau Mahajan, Raosaheb Dagadkar, Shobha Sharma, Dadaji Khobragade. Tarak Kate of Dharamitra, an NGO in Wardha, who was honoured with the ‘Beejbhushan’ award for his contribution in development of agriculture in region, raised questions over the seed sovereignty of the country.
Shantilal Kothari, president of the Academy of Nutrition Improvement hinted towards a connect between the lobby promoting GM crops and the government. Sanjay Patil from BAIF Development Research Foundation from Nandurbar said that once millets were considered food of tribals. But soon they will be the future food for all. Out of the 212 known millets grown in the word barring two, all are cultivated in India, he said.
Tejal V from GM Free Maharashtra strongly opposed the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill (BRAI) and demanded a biosafety protection legislation and not an autocratic authority as it would be like an appellate tribunal where no one can even approach court against the order of the authority.
Subhash Sharma, a renowned organic farmer from the region proposed the cause of saving the soil from pollution caused from pesticides, weedicides and fertilizers. He said that it was possible to do successful and profitable agriculture without bringing in any input in agriculture from outside the farm.
Vasant Futane from Samvad attacked the GM crops and explained the scientific effects of these crops. Ulhas Jajoo, Hemant Moharil, R Dhote also expressed their views.
The organizers also decided to bring out a directory of genuine organic and natural farming farmers with information of the food, vegetable, pulses or oil seeds crops grown by them. They concluded the programme claiming that India has enough high yielding straight varieties which can take care of food security of the country.