Native rice seed bank a beacon of hope for farmers

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Nayagarh: A community seed bank in the Daspalla block of this district housing indigenous paddy seed varieties has brought a ray of hope to farmers who have so far relied on high yielding paddy seed varieties provided by the government.

Agricultural land is shrinking rapidly in the district due to a constant increase in population. Farmers living in riverside villages and hilly areas have almost forgotten these native varieties.

Native varieties of rice seeds like ‘Karpurakeli’, ‘Bayabhanda’, ‘Kasurichampa’, ‘Mayurkanta’, ‘Rangamachhakanta’, ‘Bhutia’, ‘Jangalijata’, ‘Kalajeera’, ‘Gopalbhog’, ‘Tulasi’, ‘Chinamali’ Varsha ‘,’ Paunji ‘,’ Kalakoili ‘,’ Sariageta ‘,’ Jhumpuri ‘,’ Boudiachampa ‘,’ Magura ‘,’ Nrupatibhog ‘,’ Mukusala ‘,’ Alandhukuta ‘,’ Landi ‘,’ Kajaladatahula ‘and’ ‘ne are more seen in the neighborhood.

The community seed bank set up by farmers in Raisar village came at a time when hopes for indigenous paddy seed varieties were dwindling.

At present, the seed bank stores 44 varieties of native seeds as well as seeds of black gram, green gram, chana, sea and country crops like ‘Janha’, ‘Guruchi’, ‘Suan’ , ‘Kangula’ and ‘Kangu’.

The fundamental objective of this seed bank is to collect indigenous varieties of paddy seeds and store them for future use.

The seed bank was established by 599 farmers from the villages of Barapalli, Satajhari, Gothasahi and Andharkota under the panchayat of Sariganda as well as Gambharikhol, Jamusahi, Raisar, Bidapaja and Jhunkamara from the panchayats of Lakshmipur.

Farmers from the regions of Kadalibari, Siligadi, Champadai, Khajuridiha, Khalisahi, Khandadhara, Janisahi and Rimada are also involved in the establishment of the seed bank.

Here, farmers store native varieties of paddy seeds, other food crops and provide them free of charge to interested farmers. However, they take back the seeds three times the amount of what they give after harvest.

Bank members also collect native paddy seeds and other crops for storage free of charge when they visit a village, district headquarters, or any location outside of the state.

Purna Chandra Pradhan from Barpalli village said the seed storage process is purely traditional. They store the seeds in earthen pots and cover their mouths with straws and apply clay to extend their lifespan.

The farmers said that the members of the seed bank have adopted an organic method of cultivation. They also adopted the row crop method. They collect the paddy saplings and transplant them in rows, keeping a distance of 20 cm between the saplings.

Each sapling provides 18-20 tablets and nine to 10 quintals of paddy are harvested from an acre.

Pradipta Mallick from Gambharikhol village, said all farmers in the district should adopt large-scale indigenous rice cultivation as it is safe for sick people, including diabetic patients.

He said farmers and residents should make efforts to establish community seed banks in villages and promote organic farming. Jayanti Pradhan from Bidapaju village said the government does not encourage or sponsor the cultivation of indigenous rice.

The widespread use of chemical fertilizers results in the spread of diseases which can be avoided if farmers adopt an organic cultivation method with the use of native seeds.

PNN


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