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MSSRF sets a conservation model

22 February, 2018 5:40 PM
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Fourth edition of Wayanad Community Seed Fest begins today

With the fourth edition of the Wayanad Community Seed Fest beginning on Friday, the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is planning to adopt key takeaways of this process to develop guidelines for establishing community seed banks.

KSBB chairman S.C. Joshi had recently revealed that the board was preparing to develop regional models for germplasm conservation based on the models set by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) here. The fest has been spearheaded by SEED CARE, the traditional farmers’ network of Wayanad, and the Adivasi Vikasana Pravarthaka Samithi, a community organisation, promoted by the MSSRF.

“Wayanad’s diversity in food crops and plant genetic resources is unique but, the diversity is eroding at a faster rate, thanks to the changing agrarian landscapes, social organisation of agricultural communities, and the development pressure on land. Hence, it has become difficult for farmers to conserve these varieties for a longer period of time unless there is assured economic stake in conservation of biodiversity through cultivation, sustainable consumption, and responsible commerce,” N. Anilkumar, senior director, MSSRF, said.

“The model the MSSRF developing is this 4- C approach, where it has addressed the conservation, cultivation, consumption, and commercial dimensions of resource management,” Dr. Anilkumar said.

Under the MSSRF network, around 350 traditional farmers from Wayanad and Kasaragod have conserved over 60 varieties of paddy, 25 varieties of dioscorea, 20 varieties of banana, 85 varieties of vegetables, and many tubers and spices, he said.

“Mainstreaming agrobiodiversity in agriculture has priority as it is crucial in ensuring nutrition security and improving climate adaptability. It is important to conserve crop varieties that are resilient to extreme climatic conditions with adaptive traits to local agro-ecosystems in the situation of climate change,” says V. Balakrishnan, Head, MSSRF.

“The programme offers a continuous process of learning from the farming community and a platform for facilitating local and higher level policy dialogues,” Dr. Balakrishnan said.

“Over the past three years we could develop a model for community seed banks managed by the biodiversity management committees of grama panchayats,” said T.R.Suma, scientist, MSSRF, and who coordinates the programme.


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