Farmers over the years have made consistent efforts to domesticate different plant, animal and bird species and conserved thousands of varieties
Farmers all over the world have taken thousands of years to domesticate different plant, animal and bird species; developed and conserved thousands of varieties in spite of wars, epidemics, floods, droughts or famines - all kind of disasters. But with due (dis)respect to our ancestors, thousands of species were abandoned/ killed/destroyed (mostly during the last half a century).
We never completely know what potential a variety has for the humankind and for others as well. We successfully destroyed many varieties those were preserved in decentralised manner in the communities. Loss is irreparable. Very few regret this.
Since I assume that the people who are reading this mail are well aware of the biodiversity issue, I don’t have to explain here why we need it.
Should we just talk about biodiversity conservation in conferences and conventions or we should start some practical action? Looking for a simple way? Are you serious about the issue? If you are interested, you can try something interesting.
As we adopt a child/ children, similarly people also can adopt a variety- (indigenous or farmers' variety) seed or breed.
Suppose you decided to adopt a chilli variety, you can do that even if you are living on the 4th floor of a building. Just plant 4-5 plants in pots. Consume the fruits and keep some seeds to continue planting in the coming years. You can share the seeds with other people as well. Similarly a farmer can adopt a rice variety or a brinjal, a ladies’ finger or a mango, a banana or a ragi variety.
One does not need a big piece of land or invest a huge amount of money on conservation. A small patch will is enough to save a variety. If 1000 people try this in one year, together, they will successfully conserve 1000 varieties! Not only plant, we also could conserve indigenous cattle or a goat or a sheep or a chicken breed. What could be a better way to preserve our biodiversity?
We, at Sambhav, tried it. People make a written promise to conserve a variety and then take the seed from us. Further, we also found that one person who starts with one variety, gets interested to conserve more. In the process of conservation, one also learns a lot about that specific variety. We found System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method very suitable for bringing back our vanishing rice varieties. It is catching up. Anybody can try. No external funding is required to do this simple work in a decentralised way.
If you are concerned, can you try to adopt a variety before it vanishes forever from the people’s fields? Seed and breed are common property; let us nourish them for common good and common future.
Hope you will not forget to share the idea with your friends. It can be done in any country.
Ms. Sabarmatee Tiki