In Andhra Pradesh, Visakhapatnam district especially Chintapalle is a treasure trove and holds promise as far as crop genetic diversity is concerned. The tribal groups Bagata, Konda dora, Kondh, Porja and Valmiki habituated made significant contributions in the origin and evolution of different landraces/ traditional cultivars, accumulation and 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 loosing the crops but also the landrace diversity in those crops. As the tribal farmers are taking up cultivation of non-traditional crops and improved varieties the accumulated diversity in traditional crops is also getting eroded.
Organization of Biodiversity Fair cum Grassroot Level Awareness Programme on Crop Genetic Resources Conservation
Keeping in view the erosion of Agri-biodiversity especially in the tribal areas of Chintapalle, Visakhapatnam District, NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad in collaboration with ANGRAU, RARS, Chintapalle, Visakhapatnam District, AP organized a Biodiversity Fair cum Grass root Level Awareness Programme on Crop Genetic Resources Conservation on 6.12.2017 and 7.12.2017 at Chintapalle under Tribal Sub Project to bring in awareness to the tribal farmers regarding the need and necessity of conservation of Agri-biodiversity. About 200 Tribal Farmers from tribal pockets in and around Chintapalle participated in the two day programme.
Inauguration of Agri-biodiversity Exhibition
NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad organized an Agri-biodiversity exhibition for the benefit of Tribal farmers, Womenfolk and Students which was inaugurated by Dr.G.Jogi Naidu, Associate Director of Research, ANGRAU, RARS, Chintapalle, Visakhapatnam District, AP.
The Welcome Address and a brief on aspects of Agri-biodiversity was given by Dr.S.R.Pandravada, Principal Scientist NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad and the NBPGR activities and its role in conservation of diversity and overview of the Awareness Programme was given by Dr.B.Sarath Babu, Principal Scientist & Officer-In-Charge, NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad. Dr.Sarath Babu elaborately narrated the importance of plant genetic resources and the role of tribal communities in their conservation, role of NBPGR, National Gene bank, germplasm exchange, biodiversity act, Protection of Plant varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, Rights of farmers are some of the aspects touched upon to create awareness among farmers. Dr.Jogi Naidu in his brief introductory remarks appreciated the efforts of NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad in organizing the programme and exhibition for the benefit of tribal farmers in and around Chintapalle. Dr.N.Sivaraj, Principal Scientist and Dr.Babu Abraham, Chief Technical Officer, NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad also stressed on the need for PGR conservation during their brief remarks. Dr.Sekhar, Senior Scientist, ANGRAU, RARS, Chintapalle also spoke and mentioned about the traditional crops grown in the Eastern Ghats region during earlier times and cautioned about deterioration of health due to indiscriminate use of pesticides and the necessity of of re-introduction of traditional crops. To promote PGR conservation among tribal farmers, seed storage bins along with literature published by the Station were distributed to farmers after identifying suitable beneficiaries during the inaugural session. The Inaugural Session ended with a vote of thanks proposed by Dr.Sandeep, Scientist, ANGRAU, RARS, Chintapalle who acknowledged all the Persons/ Stakeholders who contributed in making the programme a grand success. The above programme was also extensively covered in the media as well.
Tribal farmers’ interactive session
During the session, some tribal farmers shared their experiences on the importance of traditional varieties and interacted with Scientists and Co-farmers and expressed their happiness over organization of the Agri-biodiversity fair and PGR awareness programme.
Visit to Agri-biodiversity Exhibition
A guided exposure to the Agro-biodiversity exhibition was facilitated by the Staff of NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad to the participants who included Tribal farmers, Women folk, Scientists, Students and others. Seed diversity in paddy and other cereals, sorghum and other millets, pulses, oilseeds, underutilized legumes and medicinal plants along with posters in vernacular language were displayed for the benefit of the participants. The farmers particularly womenfolk expressed keen interest in the crop diversity of their region under display. All the visitors appreciated the Agri-biodiversity exhibition organized by NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad.
Field visit for farmers
A guided field visit to experimental fields of ANGRAU, RARS, Chintapalle including experimental plots in which NBPGR supplied germplasm is under characterization and evaluation was organized for the benefit of participating tribal farmers. Variability in field in general and especially in paddy, sorghum, linseed, perilla, pigeon pea, lima bean and horse gram had been the highlight. In addition, farmers were also taken to field crops grown organically and to the experimental apple orchard trial plot. Farmers interacted interestingly with Scientists to get first hand information on different field experiments.
Dr.B.Sarath Babu, Officer-In-Charge, Dr.N.Sivaraj, Principal Scientist, Dr.S.R.Pandravada, Principal Scientist and Dr.B.Abraham, Chief Technical Officer, NBPGR Reg.Station, Hyderabad along with Dr.G.Jogi Naidu, Associate Director of Research, ANGRAU, RARS, Chintapalle, Visakhapatnam District, AP briefed about Agri-biodiversity, role of NBPGR, National Gene Bank, National Biodiversity Act, PPVFRA, Community Gene Banks, participatory Agri-biodiversity conservation, germplasm exchange and related information to the press reporters/ journalists who participated in the programme.