Imphal, Oct 13
The 3-day National indigenous seeds festival 2019 is underway at Central Agricultural University (CAU) campus at Iroishemba in the outskirt of Imphal .
The festival which will continue till Oct 14 was attended by farmers and NGO leaders from 15 states of the country besides many renowned cultivators both from hills and valley.
Vice Chancellor Dr M Premjit Singh of CAU and RK Nimai, a retired IAS officer besides President Jacob Nellithanam of Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch attended the formal inauguration programme which was attended by many faces who worked directly or indirectly in different agricultural sectors on Saturday.
Addressing the inaugural function held at the auditorium of the CAU, Vice Chancellor Dr Premjit of the agricultural varsity which is the largest Agricultural University in the country having 13 colleges and 6 Krishi Vigyan Kendras across the seven North Eastern states excluding Assam besides having its headquarters in Imphal,expressed the need to have a proper government policy to address the issue of conserving indigenous and traditional seeds for future food and nutritional security.
He said CAU had collected and evaluated 279 traditional rice varieties in Manipur. But it is very difficult to maintain all the traditional rice varieties. So we need to have a proper government policy so that the poor farmers who had been conserving such traditional seed varieties could be incentivized or addressed their grievances, he added.
VC Dr Premjit also informed the gathering that his university would developed twenty model fruit villages in the entire north eastern states to enhance the economy of the under privileged farmers.
Northeast being a biodiversity hotspot, contributes 7000 species out of India’s total flora of 17,000 species besides having more than 9650 rice varieties.
In his speech, Dr RK Nimai urged the common people particularly the farming community particularly in the region to look for sustainable agriculture considering the public demand in this era of climate change, which he termed as a ‘national phenomenon’ and global warming, an anthropogenic pressure.
He also highlighted the challenges faced by farming community in undergoing the organic or natural farming due to sudden pest invasions and expressed the need to have a proper documentation of the agricultural activities.
President Jacob Nellithanam of Bharat Beej Swaraj Manch, a partner organiser of the festival speaking to this reporter oin the sideline of the day’s event also expressed the need to conserve native indigenous seeds of different types of crops which were earlier used before the modernization of agriculture, so that the gene can be used as an instrument to combat or to mitigate the failure of crops by climate change.
Rabi Takhellambam, a resident of Kairembikhok Mayai Leikai, ThoubaI District has been in the field of Journalism for more than 10 years. Rabi, is well known for his reporting from Thoubal side and Indo-Myanmar border. Rabi is also a member of All Manipur Working Journalist Union, the parent body of Journalist Union in Manipur. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]