Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) Awareness cum Benefit delivery Programme organized by ICAR-NBPGR Regional Station at Mukunoor Village, RR Dist., Telangana under SC Sub Project

In Telangana, Ranga Reddy district has a good number of SC farmers (652,042) and with 12.5% with respect to their population. This district is endowed with good agricultural lands and holds promise as far as crop genetic diversity is concerned. These SC farmers made significant contributions in farming and used to cultivate different landraces/ traditional cultivars and contributed towards the conservation of Agri-biodiversity over a period of many centuries. Increasing population, commercialization of agriculture and mono-cropping resulted in erosion of available genetic diversity. Owing to declining cultivation of sorghum, pearl millet and small millet crops resulted in not only losing the crops but also the landrace diversity in those crops. As the SC farmers are taking up cultivation of non-traditional crops and improved varieties the accumulated diversity in traditional crops is also getting eroded. Traditional crops and local varieties/ landraces are climate resilient and climate ready crops like cowpea, sorghum, pearl millet, finger and other small millet crops are on the verge of extinction/ replacement. They require minimum rain and are drought tolerant with biotic/ abiotic stress adaptation and tolerance with assured yields even under adverse conditions. Keeping in view the erosion of Agri-biodiversity especially in the SC farming areas of RR district, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Regional Station, an ICAR research institute located in Rajendranagar, Hyderabad organized a Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) Awareness cum Benefit delivery Programme on 1st February, 2024 at Mukunoor village, Ibrahimpatnam Mandal, RR district under the SC Sub Project. This will help bring in awareness to the SC farmers regarding the conservation of Agri-biodiversity at grassroots and also help uplift SC farmers through Benefit delivery. To promote and encourage cultivation and conservation of Agri-biodiversity by the SC farmers, farm kits (Battery operated sprayer, Tarpaulin sheet, Crates, minor farm implements, Sorghum seeds.) are distributed to suitable beneficiaries (100 families). An exhibition of the diversity in native seeds in different Agri-horticultural crops was displayed during the programme for inculcating awareness on importance and indispensability of Crop Genetic Resources. The villagers enthusiastically welcomed the dignitaries and taken in a procession to the venue of the event. The Biodiversity Exhibition was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Dr.R.K. Mathur, Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Oilseeds Research, Hyderabad and Dr Gyanendra Pratap Singh, Director, ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi. The programme started with ICAR song. About 100 SC Farmers participated in the programme. The Registrations were coordinated and farmers and dignitaries were welcomed by Dr. Bhaskar Bajaru, Scientist, NBPGR and formal welcome and aspects of PGR conservation covered by Dr. N. Sivaraj, Principal Scientist & Officer-In-Charge, NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad An overview of the Awareness Programme was given by Dr.K.Anitha, Principal Scientist, NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad. Aspects on PGR conservation and quarantine were dealt with by Dr. L. Saravanan, Senior Scientist. During the occasion the following ICAR-NBPGR publications were released by the dignitaries: • Agri-horticultural crop genetic resources of Andhra Pradesh: A checklist • Pathological and morphological investigations of Dragon fruit (Selenicereus spp) • Farmers’ variety registration with PPVFRA: Green gram [Vigna radiata (L.) R.Wilczek] Farmers’ variety-Balinta pesalu. Dr. N Rama Gopala Varma, Principal Scientist, Agricultural Research Institute, PJTSAU, Hyderabad spoke on the importance of PGR followed by pest management practices in Agri-horticultural crops. Smt S Jyothi Raju, Sarpanch, Mukunoor village, Deputy sarpanch and Shri Raju, Mukunoor village also participated and addressed the farmers. Dr R. K. Mathur, Director, ICAR-IIOR stressed the need for formation of self-help groups and cultivation of oilseeds in the region. He promised the required help from IIOR will be extended through the sarpanch. Dr G. P. Singh, Director, ICAR-NBPGR thanked the farmers on the event and expressed the importance of conservation of agro-biodiversity. He also articulated that mega events of benefit delivery programme will be taken up by NBPGR in near future. He also spoke about Farmer awards of PPVFRA for conservation of PGR. Drs. Sushil Pandey, Jyoti Kumari and Badal Singh from ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi and Drs N. Sivaraj, K. Anitha, L. Saravanan, S. Nivedhitha and Bhaskar Bajaru and Shri M. Venkata Ramana Reddy, ICAR-NBPGR Regional Station were also participated in the event. The programme ended with a vote of thanks proposed by Dr. Prasanna Holajjer, Senior Scientist, NBPGR who acknowledged all persons who have contributed in making the programme a grand success. Jai Hind!!

                                                            (Source: Dr N Sivaraj, Officer-in-charge, RS, Hyderabad)

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