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National Indigenous Seed Festival kicks off in Manipur

ANI | Updated: Oct 13, 2019 12:01 IST

Imphal (Manipur) [India], Oct 13: National Indigenous Seeds Festival kicked off at the Central Agricultural University (CAU) campus, Iroishemba here on Saturday.
Farmers and NGOs from several states are participating in the three-day event. The festival will continue till October 14.
The festival aims to create awareness on conserving the indigenous seed ecosystem, reviving of indigenous seeds, networking with farmers, protecting traditional wisdom, ensuring agro-biodiversity and agro-ecology conservation activities.
The festival will help in creating a platform for farmers to come together and exchange indigenous knowledge, their ideas and culture, exchange of seeds and many more.
A seminar on seeds and related issues, an exhibition of Indigenous seeds and other organic-based medicinal and aromatic plants, stalls for agricultural and allied products along with field visits are being organised.
Speaking to media, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, chairperson of the organising committee and MP, said that India as a country which is depending on the seasonal monsoon rainfall, the country is at a critical juncture with the global climate change.
"Modern technologies and different varieties of seeds are replacing the traditional methods and indigenous seeds to meet the ever-increasing demands. Humans prefer the high yielding varieties with the passage of time and neglect the indigenous seeds, which are one factor for the gradual extinction of indigenous seeds," he added.
National Indigenous Seed Festival 2019 started at the main auditorium of the Central Agricultural University, Iroishemba today.
All Manipur trained Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Promoters Consortium is organising the three-day festival with technical support from the Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (India Seed Sovereignty Alliance).
Vice-Chancellor CAU Professor M Premjit and retired IAS Dr RK Nimai attended the event as presidium members.
Speaking at the event, Premjit talked about the importance of conserving and promoting the indigenous/traditional seeds and encourages farmers to adopt organic farming."Manipur has abundant varieties of seeds especially rice seeds, but almost all farmers face difficulties in maintaining and preserving traditional rice seeds due to different factors."
"CAU has 13 diverse campuses similar to farmers having different types of seeds. Since the farmers of the State are talented and conserving traditional seeds culturally, it is time to focus both on technical farming as well as indigenous farming," Premjit added.
While stating that natural, organic, zero budget farming should go along with technology, Premjit also asserted that "high yielding varieties without nutritional values are useless. "The time has come to interlink nutritional value and high yielding seeds or crops."
The vice-chancellor also said that the north-eastern states are indeed a biodiversity hotspot and more than 17,000 species of flora are found in the region.
"Out of the different species of flora species available, 9650 rice species have already been identified, and from the 279 traditional rice have been identified from Manipur and deposited at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic," he said.
Premjit further highlighted the various techniques and strategies developed to maintain the crops while also mentioning the problems resulting from shifting agriculture or Jhum cultivations.
The representative of Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch, Jacob Nellithanam, and retired administrator RK. Nimai also spoke on the need for the preservation of traditional seeds.
As a part of the program, stalls displaying different varieties of seeds were opened at the CAU complex.
The festival is sponsored by All Manipur Trained Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Promoters Consortium (AMAPCON) with technical support from Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch (India Seed Sovereignty Alliance). (ANI)