India had more than 10, naturally growing varieties of rice at one point in time. Our desire for standardisation and urge to make a better world led us to experiment with seeds and produce hybrid seeds. This is probably why so many of us eat only white polished rice. At our farm in Himachal Pradesh, we were looking to plant some indigenous varieties but were surprised that all fingers pointed us to the agricultural shops that sell seeds.
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Raju Gusain Dehradun August 11, am. Flashback Whenever farmer and social activist Vijay Jardhari and his friends would visit any village telling locals to conserve their traditional seeds and to continue consuming millets, people would make fun of them. Now the same villagers are surprised with the mass acceptability of millets and the growing popularity of organic products. Jardhari has dedicated his life to conserving traditional seeds, which otherwise would have disappeared due to wide acceptability of hybrid seeds among farmers.
The collection has over varieties of kidney beans, varieties of paddy, ten varieties of maize, 12 varieties of finger millet, nine varietis of soya bean and five varieties of Ramdana, to mention a few. Now they are surprised with the use of Mandua finger millet and Jhangora barnyard millet in a particular section of society.
We are asking villagers to grow traditional crops as they have greater nutritive value and they should cultivate and consume it for the sake of their health.
Prachi Deo Bringing knowledge to the afflicted. The exercise to keep on producing new seeds is tedious. Jardhari and his friends grow the traditional seeds in their fields and store them. They have been doing this since the past 32 years. The BBA has made Jardhargaon village of district Tehri famous for its unique movement to conserve traditional seeds. The Andolan is not only a crusade to conserve traditional seeds but also to promote agricultural biodiversity, sustainable agriculture and local traditions.
Besides this we have also started taking part in food festivals — serving traditional Garhwal dishes. Bhan Singh Jassi A Santa for slum children. After the Green Revolution of the s, farmers in the hills also adopted high-yielding varieties of seeds.
After initial success, the Green Revolution fizzled out as yields began to decline. The change forced villagers to realize that so called modern agriculture was unsustainable.
Moving from one village to another, Jardhari and his group developed a seed bank. The big collection also indicates the herculean effort made by the Andolan members. In a move to clear confusion about modern seeds yielding high produce, the Beej Bachao Andolan has prepared a comparison chart of high-yielding varieties of seeds and traditional seeds. Many traditional seeds yield higher produce than modern seeds. For instance, the Gorakhpuri Paddy of Tehri used to take 95 days to harvest and yields quintals per hectare.
The Baranaja meaning twelve grains is a traditional system of mixed farming, through inter-cropping of twelve species. The Beej Bachao Andolan suffered a major setback in , when it lost its key member, journalist and writer Kunwar Prasoon.
The movement has sustained itself without financial support from government. Despite all odds, the BBA members have not lost the zeal to collect and preserve the traditional seeds.
A battle to preserve seeds. Vijay Jardhari. Related Latest News. Rs 20, crore for MSMEs, better prices for farmers, credit facility for hawkers in major Cabinet decisions.
Meet this man in remote Uttarakhand who has dedicated his life to preserving seeds
Posted by Tulip Das on February 04, The Andolan started in the village Jardhargaon of district Tehri, Uttaranchal, famous for its unique movement to save the traditional seeds of the hills. A farmer and social activist, Vijay Jardhari realized that modern agriculture was destroying traditional farming. Crop yields of the high-yielding varieties in the modern agriculture were actually low; soil fertility was declining leading to an increasing dependence on toxic chemicals. Along with other activities of chipco movement, Jardhari formed the BBA to promote traditional agriculture and crop varieties. In the valley of Ramasirain, Uttarkashi district, Farmers were growing a distinctive variety of red rice called chardhan. The rice was nutritious and suited to local requirements and conditions.
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