Uttarakhand sowing seeds for a better tomorrow

The way forward to sustainable agriculture lies in sticking to traditional methods, writes Baba Mayaram

Daily Pioneer, May 12, 2010

At a recent agricultural festival in Indore, Uttarakhand was represented by a stall displaying traditional seeds. Fascinated by their texture, colours and sizes, I was tempted to pick them up. The stall stocked small plastic bags containing seeds of dhan, rajma, mundwa (kodo), marsa (ram dana), jhangora, wheat, lobia and bhatt. I later learnt that the credit for this display and the “seed movement” that has ensured that these seeds remain in circulation amidst an environment of aggressive biotech altered varieties goes to conservationist Vijay Jaddhari. He comes from the land of the Chipko Movement which practised the Gandhian methods of satyagraha and non-violent resistance, through the act of hugging trees to protect them from being felled.

Mr Jaddhari has actively been protecting the biodiversity of the region through the “seeds movement”. He started to revive traditional agricultural practices once he sensed the damage chemical fertilisers and new technologies could wreak on farming practices. This was the motivation behind the movement and at the core of this lay urgency to protect local varieties of seeds. [more]