A two-day workshop on Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of Assam was organised by ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi on 17-18 September, 2018 at the College of Veterinary Science (CVSc.), Khanapara, Guwahati. A total of 80 participants, including officials of state department of agriculture and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), custodian farmers and NGO, from 13 districts located in the western part of Assam (Baksa, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Darrang, Dhubri, Goalpara, Kamrup, Kokrajhar, Morigaon, Sonitpur, South Salmara, Udalguri) had attended this workshop. It has been organized for the first time to have an exchange of information and strengthening linkage with different stakeholders to facilitate germplasm augmentation for ex situ conservation, documentation of plant genetic resources (PGR) wealth from these insufficiently-explored areas, generate database on custodian farmers, and exploring feasibility of on-farm management of crop diversity and community seed bank. Workshop was inaugurated by the Chief Guest Dr. Bibeka Nand Saikia, Dean, CVSc., Khanapara, with Dr. AK Tripathi, Director, ATARI, Guwahati and Mr. Bhagawan Bharali, Joint Director of Agriculture, Guwahati being Guests of Honour. Dr. SP Ahlawat, Head, DPEGC welcomed the participants while Dr. Kuldeep Singh, Director, NBPGR has made opening remarks. The guests emphasised the importance of such workshop besides underscoring the need to conserve the PGR for posterity, through citing the ever-increasing threats faced by local crop landraces.
In the first technical session under the chairmanship of Dr. Kuldeep Singh, Director, NBPGR, three presentations were made highlighting the Bureau’s role in PGR management (by Dr. Kuldeep Singh), citrus diversity in NEH region and approaches for conservation (Dr. SK Malik, ICAR HQ, New Delhi) and trends in agrobiodiversity of NEH region (Dr. DK Hore, Former OIC, NBPGR RS Shillong). In the next day, under the chairmanship of Dr. JC Rana, Bioversity International, New Delhi, two presentations were made, one on on-farm conservation of PGR (Dr. JC Rana), and another on the status of collected vs conserved PGR from above districts of Assam (Dr. K Pradheep, NBPGR, New Delhi). After that, district-wise presentations were made by KVK officials, highlighting the PGR wealth (crop landraces and wild economic plants) available from each district. Such information has also been provided by the District Agriculture Officers and custodian farmers during the interaction session. A few farmers had displayed seed/live samples of unique landraces and uncommon economically important plants. All these had paved way to understand the collection/ conservation gaps, and formulate exploration plan in the near future. Discussions on issues such as role of PPVFRA vs NBPGR, establishment of community seed bank, on-farm management sites for crop landraces, and database on custodian farmers were also made. Participating officials from KVKs and state department of agriculture had assured that they would extend all possible help in above endeavours. The meeting was ended by distribution of participation certificates. Besides above, Drs. KC Bhatt, RS Rathi, GD Harish and Subarna Hajong, Sh. Vivek Purwar, Sh. OP Dhariwal and Smt. L Kharnary had attended this workshop, from the Bureau.
(Source: Dr. Kuldeep Singh, ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi)