Report on Awareness on Agri-biodiversity cum Farmers’ Benefit Delivery Programme (Under Tribal Sub Plan) organized at Adilabad, Telangana on 9th March 2021

Date Posted: 11-03-2021

In Telangana, Adilabad is a treasure trove and holds promise as far as crop genetic diversity is concerned. The tribal groups Gond, Naikpod, Kolam (PTG), Pardhan, Koya, Manne, Andh, Thoti (PTG), Lambada and Yerukala 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 losing 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 Awareness on Agri-biodiversity cum Farmers’ Benefit Delivery Programme
Keeping in view the erosion of Agri-biodiversity especially in the tribal areas of Adilabad District, NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad in collaboration with Horticultural Research Station, Adilabad, Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticultural University, Telangana organized an Awareness on Agri-biodiversity cum Farmers’ Benefit Delivery Programme on 9th March, 2021 at Adilabad under the Tribal Sub Project to bring in awareness to the tribal farmers regarding the need and necessity of conservation of Agri-biodiversity especially for livelihood and nutritional security. About 100 Tribal Farmers from tribal pockets Lachchampur-B, Rayaguda, Chintakarra, Mallapur, Kondapur and Gulabthanda participated in the programme.

Inaugural Session
The NBPGR activities and its role in conservation of diversity and overview of the Awareness Programme was given by Dr K Anitha, Principal Scientist & Officer-In-Charge, NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad. She spoke on 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 and Rights of farmers and awards that farmers could receive for their contributions. Dr Sreedhar Chauhan, Principal Scientist & Head, ARS, PJTSAU, Adilabad who was the Chief Guest, in his remarks appreciated the efforts of NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad in organizing the programme and exhibition for the benefit of tribal farmers in association with Dr V Suchitra, Senior Scientist & Head, HRS, Adilabad SKLTSHU. In his remarks, he mentioned the traditional crops grown during earlier times and cautioned about deterioration of health due to indiscriminate use of pesticides and the necessity of re-introduction of traditional crops. Dr Suchitra emphasized on the importance of conservation of genetic diversity for the betterment and sustainable livelihood of the tribal communities. In addition, Dr. Y Praveen, Senior Scientist & Programme Coordinator, KVK, PJTSAU, Adilabad; Dr Pullaiah, ADA, Adilabad. Dr Babu Abraham, Chief Technical Officer, NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad stressed on the need for PGR conservation and registration of unique germplasm.
Dr Prasanna Holajjer, Scientist proposed a vote of thanks acknowledging all persons/ Stakeholders who contributed in making the programme a grand success. The above programme was extensively covered in the media as well.

Inauguration of Agri-biodiversity Exhibition
The Agri-biodiversity exhibition was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Dr Sreedhar Chauhan, who appreciated the treasure of diverse crop germplasm collected and displayed for the benefit of tribal farmers. Live plants of medicinal and aromatic crop species also attracted the attention of tribal groups. A guided exposure was facilitated by the staff of NBPGR to the participants who included tribal farmers, women folk and scientists 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.

Distribution of Kits to Farming Communities
An implement kit each consisting of a crow-bar, spade, secateur, plastic basket; saplings of pomegranate, acid lime and karonda, seed of local variety of Italian millet (korra) and pigeon pea (var Erra macchha kandi) were distributed after identifying suitable needy beneficiaries.

Tribal farmers’ interactive session
During the session, some tribal farmers interacted with the scientists on organic farming, growing traditional varieties and registration of unique genotypes.

Press briefing
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.

(Source Dr. Anitha Kodaru, ICAR-NBPGR, Regional Station Hyderabad)