Turning sacred groves into oases of biodiversity through community participation: The People’s biodiversity register (PBR) – Goa

Rajendra P Kerkar, Times of India, 

KERI: The village panchayat of Bhironda in Sattari taluka has become the state’s first local self-governing body to have completed work on the people’s biodiversity register (PBR) in keeping with the Biodiversity Act, 2002.

As per the Act, PBRs are to be prepared in consultation with locals and must contain comprehensive information on availability and knowledge of local biological resources, their medicinal or other values, or any other knowledge associated with them. The National Biodiversity Authority states that so far, a total of 2,485 PBRs have been prepared by several other states. […]

The preparation of Bhironda panchayat’s PBR was spearheaded by sarpanch and chairperson of the local biodiversity managing committee (BMC), Suvarnamala Desai. […]

“Since times immemorial, ancestors of tribal and non-tribal communities residing in these areas protected and conserved various elements of biodiversity by establishing the institution of sacred groves and trees. Our BMC, with the help of the local people, will make sincere efforts to enjoy the benefits of this biodiversity through judicious use,” Gaude said.

Member secretary of the Goa State Biodiversity Board (GSBB), Pradip Sarmokadam said, “Kerala is the first state in the country to have constituted 1,500 BMCs and completed preparing PBRs. Under the Global Environmental Facility, we have selected 20 BMCs from various parts of Goa. There is an urgent need to have PBRs as a lifetime activity if we are to protect and conserve our natural resources. Also, through community participation, we want to protect oases of biodiversity by declaring biodiversity heritage sites.”

Source: Bhironda panchayat sets precedent – The Times of India
Address: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/Bhironda-pyat-sets-precedent/articleshow/55714788.cms?null
Date Visited: Mon Dec 26 2016 20:08:02 GMT+0100 (CET)

The Hindu, Chennai: May 28, 2010 | To read the full article, click here >>

The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) has issued guidelines for preparing people’s biodiversity register and identifying and declaring biodiversity heritage sites, said its chairman P.L. Gautam on Thursday.

Along the sidelines of a vacation training programme in bio-resources and biotechnology for schoolchildren at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Mr. Gautam said 24 states had constituted State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) in accordance with Biological Diversity Act, 2002. […]

At the valedictory function of the training programme, agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan urged the younger generation to reduce the needs as desertification was partly because of human action — removal of trees, forests and overexploitation. […]

Source: Guidelines issued for preparing people’s biodiversity register – The Hindu
Address: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Guidelines-issued-for-preparing-peoples-biodiversity-register/article16304002.ece
Date Visited: Fri Mar 31 2017 20:21:06 GMT+0200 (CEST)

M. K. Ananth , The Hindu, SALEM, February 14, 2014

Farmers of this district brought more than 50 indigenous crop varieties for display at the one day exhibition of such varieties, which was organised by the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), attached to the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) at Sandhiyur, on Wednesday.

This was organised as part of a workshop on Protection of Plant Varieties (PPV) and Farmer’s Rights Act (FRA), 2001. […]

Dr. Sriram said that these varieties would be sent for a crop specific Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) test.

“There are DUS centres registered under the PPV and FRA Act across the country to conduct the test for specific crop varieties, free of cost. The centre at TNAU, in Coimbatore, has been recognised to test paddy and groundnut”, he said.

“The 23 documented samples will be tested in those centres for one crop cycle. The harvested produce will then be tested for its uniqueness such as the ability to withstand drought and maintaining uniform productivity. On completion of these procedures, the farmers who documented it will be given credit for preserving the variety”, he added.

Source: Indigenous crop varieties on display – The Hindu
Address: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/indigenous-crop-varieties-on-display/article5688237.ece
Date Visited: Sat May 13 2017 20:25:45 GMT+0200 (CEST)

FARMERS’ RIGHTS: A landmark law

ASHA KRISHNAKUMAR in Wayanad, Frontline Magazine, Volume 19 – Issue 01, Jan. 05, – 18, 2002

Experts, activists and farmers’ representatives discuss, at a seminar organised by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, problems that may be encountered while implementing the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Rights Act.  | To read the full article, click here >>

[…] Farmers who conserve are mostly tribal and rural women and men. They conserve and select strain for local adaptation, concentrating on qualities such as resistance to pests and diseases, soil stress and water efficiency. Valuable genetic material, including medicinal plants, a range of millets, pulses, vegetables and oilseeds, that have been preserved by them form the basis for organised plant breeding and genetic engineering enterprise.

Dr. Swaminathan said: “Unless the efforts of the tribal people and rural conservers receive social prestige and economic reward, their knowledge will become vanishing wisdom.” To address these issues, the Act provides for the creation of a plant varieties registry, which would document indigenous knowledge. It also recommends the creation of a national gene fund from which the conservers of genetic resources can be rewarded. The registry would help identify farmers or farm communities responsible for conserving the genetic knowledge.

To recognise indigenous knowledge, the Act insists on registering the ancestry of a material. Under the Act, any application for registering a new variety should contain a “complete passport data of the parental lines from which the variety has been derived along with the geographical location in India from where the genetic material has been taken and all such information relating to the contribution, if any, of a farmer, village community, institution or organisation in breeding, evolution or developing the variety”. […]

Dr. M.K. Prasad, Co-ordinator, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP), said that the Act should first be translated into all Indian languages and distributed widely. Prasad recommended, among other things, an awareness generation programme for lawyers, scientists and farmers and the setting up of a group of “bare-foot legal experts” to travel to rural areas in order to create awareness about the ramifications of the Act. He also suggested the preparation of manuals in all Indian languages on the procedures of registration and applying for claims from the gene fund, and on the reward system.

Source: A landmark law
Address: http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl1901/19010830.htm
Date Visited: Fri Mar 31 2017 20:26:45 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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