Guwahati, May 25: Indigenous varieties of seeds which have been fast disappearing from the state’s croplands due to invasion of hybrid verities, are key components of the rich bio-diversity in the ethnic-mosaic called Assam.
Premier conservation organisation, Aaranyak which strives for enrichment and preservation of biodiversity, has launched a pilot initiative on the International Biodiversity Day on Sunday last to preserve local seeds by showcasing the indigenous seed diversity of Kaziranga-Karbi-Anglong Landscape of the state.
On the occasion, Aaranyak in collaboration with the local communities, Assam State Biodiversity Board and Agriculture Department of Karbi Anglong organised a ‘local seed collection competition and exhibition in Chandrasing Rongpi Memorial High School, Kohora, Karbi Anglong.
A senior scientist of Aaranyak and a guiding light of the endeavour, Dr M Firoz Ahmed informed that, “The event was an effort to raise awareness among the masses about the importance of local seeds and plants for preservation of biodiversity of the region. These indigenous seeds are a part of our agro-diversity and cultural heritage too.”
Aaranyak aims to set up seed bank with local seeds of the landscape so as to facilitate their proliferation among the farming community as well as to promote organic farming that gives high-value yield for farmers. These indigenous varieties are resilient to vagaries of local climate.
A total of 87 participants including farmers and students from 27 villages in the Kohora and Diffolu River Basin participated in the competition which was organized for the first time in the region.
Around 170 different local seeds were displayed by the participants in the competition, mainly cultivated in hilly terrain and in Jhum fields. Out of these, there are around 20 land races of rice, 18 varieties of pulses, 7 varieties of oil seeds, 85 varieties of vegetables, 15 fruits species and two varieties of millets and 5 types of corn and maize are noteworthy which have important role in traditional food system of Karbi community of Assam.
The event was jointly inaugurated by the Dr Jatindra Sharma, Director of Kaziranga NationalPark and Ramesh Kumar Gogoi the DFO of Kaziranga National Park and Dhruvajyoti Nath, Additional Superintendent of Police in presence of Raising Rongpi, Sarkari Gaonbura, Chandrasing Rongpi village.
In the competition Kangbura Hanse bagged a sum of 10000 rupees as prize money in the
farmer category, while Bura Taro and Margaret Terangpi received an amount of Rs. 8000 and 5000 as prize money respectively. The winners of the senior student category were Harlongpi Tokbi, Sermir Phangchopi, and Rowel Teron. All three of them received cash prizes as well.
At the junior student level, Rinjuna Ronghangpi, Serlyn Tokbipi and Banaras Teran secured the top three prizes.
By Bijay Sankar Bora