Old seeds festival “a pleasing sight and important”: Traditional farming methods not forgotten – Andhra Pradesh

Procession of old seeds in Araku Valley
Photo © CV Subrahmanyam The Hindu >>

Amazing variety of seeds protected by tribal people of Agency | Read the full article >>

For people living in the plains variety is a few types of vegetables, paddy and millets and one believes that chemical fertilizers and pesticides alone can increase the yield and protect the crops. But a visit to the annual Paata Vittanala Panduga (old seeds festival) held in the Agency area of Visakhapatnam district is a revelation.

The festival has scores of varieties of paddy, millets and vegetables that are not found even in large urban markets or big villages. While the agriculture products of various colours were a pleasing sight, the important fact is that the Girijan farmer has not forgotten his traditional methods in farming. […]

Thus the crop from the yield is nutritious and healthy. This is an age old practice and in spite of polished rice, snacks like idli becoming part of the diet, Girijans still practise it.

Sanjeevani, an NGO working among Girijans, with the help of another NGO Samata and CRYNET, a network of rural youth organisations, organises the old seeds festival every year at different villages.  […]

The NGO has bagged the Union Government’s Plant Genome Saviour Community Award for 2011-12.

The old seeds festival is organised to encourage farmers to retain and to protect seeds of many varieties of high quality seeds which are facing a threat due to changing food habits and farm practices. There is also a threat to biodiversity if the seeds are not protected and promoted. Through our Paata Vittanala Pandaga we are also creating awareness among the people, NGOs and the Government”, secretary of Sanjeevani, P. Devullu said.

A couple of energetic and young farmers from Malingavalasa came with 178 varieties of paddy, millets and vegetables and 10 medicinal plants and farmers from other villages were keen on learning about them […]

Source: “Amazing variety of seeds protected by tribal people of Agency” by G Narasimha Rao – The Hindu, ARAKU VALLEY, April 29, 2013
Address : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/amazing-variety-of-seeds-protected-by-tribal-people-of-agency/article4665741.ece
Date Visited: 17 July 2020

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

“The practice of religious rituals, ceremonies and sanctions by specific cultural groups allow such sacred landscapes to be maintained, emphasizing that humans are intrinsically part of the ecosystem. Taboos, codes and customs specific to activities and community members restrict access to most sacred groves. […] The inclusion of local people’s needs and interests in conservation planning is increasingly accepted as essential, both to promote the well-being of human populations, and to ensure that biodiversity and conservation needs are met in the long-term.” – Nazir A. Pala, Ajeet K. Neg and N.P. Todaria in “The Religious, Social and Cultural Significance of Forest Landscapes in Uttarakhand Himalaya, India” (International Journal of Conservation Science, Vol. 5, Issue 2, April-June 2014) | Sacred groves | Biodiversity and development – Himalaya >>

Learn from M S Swaminathan – a world renowned scientist – how biological diversity contributes to public health, people’s livelihood and environmental security in addition to food security: his call on fellow citizens to use and share resources in a more sustainable and equitable manner; outlining the long journey from the 1992 Earth Summit to a commitment to foster inherited knowledge through India’s Biodiversity Act and Genome Saviour Award; an award intended to reward those who are “primary conservers” – guardians of biological diversity!

More about the work of his foundation which “aims to accelerate use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development to improve lives and livelihoods of communities.” – www.mssrf.org | Regarding the issues of food security raised above, and the nutritional value of indigenous grains, seeds and millets, read an in-depth report that concludes that “the tribal food basket has always been ­diverse and nutritious” >>

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