Friday, September 20, 2013

LVC in the News: Field Visit to UP to learn about seeds

TOI MOBILE



Seedman from UP to host agricultural experts from across the world

Sep 19, 2013, 07.03AM IST TNN[ Rajiv Mani ]


ALLAHABAD: With his extraordinary contribution to indigenous farming despite his humble background and failure to pass class X, Jai Prakash Narain is living proof that brilliance does not necessary flow through books.

Singh's expertise in protecting and disseminating indigenous high-yielding varieties of seeds has benefitted not only millions of farmers and agricultural experts in the country, but also experts from the developed and developing world. Singh would today be honoured by directorate of seed research, Mau, and would be hosting agricultural scientists from across the world including those from US, Brazil, and Indonesia on September 24.

A native of Varanasi, Singh recently received the Plant Genome Saviour Farmer award from Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India for his work on high yielding indigenous seeds. He has earlier been felicitated by two former Presidents of the country for developing a treasure of 460 varieties of paddy, 120 varities of wheat, 30 varieties of pulses (arhar) and 4 of mustard seeds over more than two decades.

While one of his varieties of wheat gives a yield of 79 quintal per hectare of land, another paddy seed (HJPW157) looks like cumin seeds and comes with the benefits of being dwarf, getting ready in just 130 days and using less quantity of water.

Singh today provides low-cost seeds to poor farmers who have slowly taken to genetically modified seeds, chemicals and pesticides for high yield. His high-yielding seeds are subject of research for various agricultural scientists of different universities of the country.

Singh told TOI over phone, "I have been invited to Patna to attend the 'Beej Utsav' (seed fair) from September 21 to 26 wherein large number of agro-experts would be discussing the importance of indigenous high-yielding varieties of seeds and the disastrous effects of GM seeds. After this, a large group of experts, including a pioneering farmer from US along with agricultural experts from Brazil, Spain, international and national representatives of La Via Campesina, the international organisation for small-scale farmers, around 20 farmers belonging to Karnataka Rajya Rayot Sangha (KRRS) from Bengaluru and many others would be coming to visit the fields at my village Tadiyan of Rajatalab on September 22 and 23." After visiting the fields, the entire group would be moving to Patna and from there to attend the conference at Bengaluru organised under the guidance of Dr MS Swaminathan, he added.

Lauding Singh's work, the co-convenor of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), Pankaj Bhushan from Patna told TOI, "It is an honour for all of us that experienced farmers like JP Singh would be participating in the meet along with the 'Seedman' of the country Dr Debal Deb."

"The GM seeds are ruining our poor farmers as they have forgotten to conserve old seeds that were originally used for sowing. The schemes like 'Bringing Green Revolution to East India (BGREI) are a gimmick as although the government has allocated a whopping amount of Rs 1000 crore, the largest chuck of the money is being used for promoting GM seeds, automation of farming etc. Because of this, experts like JP Singh, who have a treasure of indigenous seeds that are not only high-yielding but can be used every year, are marginalised," said Bhushan.