An Awareness programme on Agri-biodiversity conservation cum Biodiversity Fair was organised by ICAR-NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Pandirimamidi, DR YSR Horticultural University, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh State on 09 November 2021. The programme was organised under Tribal Sub Plan in collaboration with KVK, Pandirimamidi, DR YSRHU to bring in awareness to the tribal farmers regarding the need and necessity of conservation of agri-biodiversity, keeping in view the erosion of agri-biodiversity especially in the tribal areas of East Godavari District. A total of 110 tribal farmers from the following villages viz., Addategala, Chinturu, Maredumilli, Kakavada, Rampachodavaram, Y. Ramavaram, and Vetukuru.
Dr T. Janakiram, Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Dr YSR Horticultural University inaugurated the Agrobiodiversity Fair organised jointly by ICAR-NBPGR & KVK, DR YSRHU. 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. Tribal farmers from five villages showcased the Agri-horticultural crop wealth of the region. In addition, LAYA & ASHA (NGOs), KVK, Pandirimamidi displayed palmyrah leaf value added products, live medicinal plants and other agro-based products. The farmers who have participated in the programme expressed keen interest in the crop diversity of their region under display.
The Programme began with ICAR invocation song and lighting of lamp by the dignitaries. Dr Bhaskar Bajaru welcomed the gathering. Dr K Anitha, Officer-in-Charge, ICAR-NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad gave an overview and importance of the programme. In her address she expressed her gratitude to Team DR YSRHU for being instrumental in collaborating with ICAR-NBPGR for bringing in awareness to those farmers, particularly of the tribal and rural communities who have a long track record for conserving plant agro-biodiversity in this region. She outlined the various activities of the Bureau, including germplasm exchange, biodiversity act, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act and the National Gene bank.
Dr. N. Sivaraj, Principal Scientist spoke on the management of plant genetic resources and its importance and stressed the need for safe conservation, improvement and preservation of genetic resources of economic plants and their wild relatives. Dr L. Saravanan, Senior Scientist addressed the participants and stressed the need for agri-horticultural crop diversity conservation. Dr P Lalitha Kameswari, Principal Scientist & Head, KVK spoke on the near extinct horticulture crop diversity and highlighted the importance of conservation of existing crop diversity. Dr B Srinivasulu, Director of Extension, DR YSRHU addressed the participants on biodiversity and emphasised the need for sustainable agriculture and conservation of local biodiversity. On this occasion, three publications in Telugu, viz., “Andhra Pradesh rashtram lo pantala janyuvaividhyatha mariyu daani parirakshana aavasyakatha” from ICAR-NBPGR RS, Hyderabad and “Andhra Pradesh lo rubber saagu mariyu processing” and “Teneteegala pempakam lo melakuvalu” from KVK, Pandirimamidi were released.
Dr T. Janakiram, Honourable Vice-Chancellor, Dr YSR Horticultural University, in his address highlighted the tremendous responsibility of tribal communities in the conservation of floral wealth of the region and associated plant genetic resources (Ethnic horticulture). He highlighted the importance of Ethnic horticulture and its marketing and the need for horticulture tourism. He has suggested actionable take-home points such as Conservation of ethnic vegetables and their nutrient analysis, On-farm conservation, identification of farmers who are conserving native agri-horticulture diversity for recognizing through PPVFRA and NBA awards. Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor floated the concept theme “Mana Gramam; Mana Jeeva Vaividhyam” (Our Village; Our Biodiversity) for the conservation and sustainable utilization of Agri-horticultural diversity’.
An interactive session of Tribal farmers-NGOs-Scientists was also conducted. Representatives from NGOs such as ASHA, Chinturu; LAYA, Rampachodavaram; Reliance Foundation spoke on various issues of biodiversity conservation. During the session, some tribal farmers shared their experiences on the importance of traditional varieties still in use in the region and their own efforts towards their conservation and sustainable agriculture. Select farmers were felicitated for their service towards conservation of local agri-horticultural crop diversity. Around 25 students of B.Sc. Horticulture course Horticultural College from Ramavaram also attended the programme.
To promote PGR conservation among tribal farmers, a kit each consisting of one taurpalin, five garden implements and two cashew graft seedlings along with literature published in vernacular language by the station were distributed to 100 selected farmers who were identified as beneficiaries.
The programme ended with a vote of thanks to the Chief guest & Chair, guest of honour, and all those who had contributed to make the programme a success.
(Source: Dr Anitha Kodaru, Regional Station, Hyderabad)