Article Dharohar Samiti Muria - conserves more than 280 traditional paddy varieties.

Discussion in 'Discussion Topics' started by editorialteam, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. editorialteam

    editorialteam Active Member Staff Member

    Conserves more than 280 traditional paddy varieties. Located at Kondagaon village, Chhattisgarh

    India has been gifted with food crops rich in medicinal properties. However with new age development and revolution in agriculture where focus is narrowed down to increase the farm productivity these traditional varieties are getting wiped out at a rapid speed! The situation is alarming as the loss of natural treasure as in native seeds can never be compensated by developing new hybrid variants. Feeling the urge to conserve the legacy of Indian agriculture Mr. Shivnath Yadav and his two friends took the initiative to conserve the traditional varieties grown in tribal area. Together they founded Dharohar Samiti Muria in Kondagaon village, Kondagaon district, Chhattisgarh. It represents Bhatra Adivasi and Backward Tribal community. It was established 15 years ago. It works primarily with the tribes residing in extreme remote area. Agriculture is their main occupation.
    Dharohar Samiti Muria Mr Shivnath Yadav a.jpg
    “We wanted to safeguard the native paddy seeds that are grown by the tribal communities. The rice produced from these varieties is not only a staple food but also acts as natural medicine for specific health problems. The knowledge of the same lies only with senior members of the tribal families. We wanted to document the unique medicinal properties of these seeds and conserve it for coming generations else it will be lost forever!” asserts Mr. Yadav. “To save the native seeds from getting extinct it was mandatory to work in the villages where entire neighborhood atleast knows the real worth of the crops unlike in urban India where they do not understand the difference in rice varieties. To do so collectively we started Dharohar Samiti Muria, a farmer's organization.”

    When asked to share the details about the medicinal properties, Mr. Yadav highlights, “Mehr variety paddy is full of iron content. It is used for making some ayurvedic medicines. It is given to growing children, old people and women so that their iron deficiency is met naturally with food. Similarly there is Alsa variety rice that is given to pregnant women. It is said consuming this rice the baby is resistant to skin related diseases. Next is Elaichi variety, it is distinctive because paddy is black in colour but when processed the rice turns white. It improves digestion and its decoction treats mouth ulcers. In this way every native paddy variety is inimitable and worth conserving.”

    At the moment 280 traditional paddy varieties are secured and documented. Out of 280, 67 varieties are even registered with The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&FRA), New Delhi. They have felicitated the Samiti with prestigious Plant Genome Saviour Community Award for its efforts. “We received Rs. 10 lakh prize money that is being spent on storing the seeds,” shares Mr. Yadav.

    “It is a meticulous task to store these varieties therefore we have crafted a system to label each variety with a unique number in the seed bank. These seeds are then planted as per its unique number in the sequence to ensure there is no fall out in the varieties’ credential. Besides, we document details like name of variety, farmer name and contact details, farming requirements and medicinal properties,” he elaborates. Minimum 200 grams of every variety is stored in the seed bank always. These are stored in cotton fabric bags. The seed bank is set up for propagation and promotion through exchange and distribution of seeds. “We give the seed quantity as asked by the farmer. Later it is his responsibility to grow and manage the cultivation,” he clarifies.

    These varieties grow best when cultivated with organic inputs like farm yard manure, cow dung based manure and so on. Chemical fertilizer if used spoils the soil fertility and the traditional variety does not yield well! “With continuous use of chemical fertilizer the traditional varieties can be lost completely. Therefore tribal community farmers are still continuing with organic practices in their farmlands,” he claims.

    Tribal origin farmers grow paddy in the water logging areas so they need diverse varieties in every cycle. “Once one particular paddy variety is harvested it re-grown only after 4-5th cycle. This practice is followed to retain the soil fertility in the paddy fields. Every native seed absorbs different nutrient from the soil hence the nutrients content in the soil is naturally balanced,” explains Mr. Yadav.

    The ownership of Dharohar Samiti Muria lies with its farmer members. There are 11 active members managing the routine operations. The area of operations is spread across 10 villages and in all there are 100 farmers associated with the Samiti. Organization also promotes agro bio-diversity conservation and secure livelihoods and nutrition for farmers.

    In future, Mr. Yadav and his team plans to help farmers sell their farm products at good price in different market. “We always store the rice and sell only when we need money for marriage, function or medical treatment and so on. So we want to organize our sale so that we are able to earn money consistently like other professions. For the same we are taking guidance and assistance from Government officials and agriculture university dean. Hopefully we shall flourish and continue our legacy!” he concludes.

    Contact details:
    Dharohar Samiti Muria
    Bhatra Adivasi and Backward Tribal community
    Hospital Ward, Near Gulab Lodge, Kondagaon,
    District Kondagaon – 494226,
    Mobile: 09406336508, 9575799653
  2. greenlandfns

    greenlandfns Well-Known Member

    It is a great achievement through hard work. A big salute and heart full thanks to Mr. Shivnath Yadav, his friends and the Samiti member farmers. It is a real service to Mother Earth as well all beings around.
    We will contact you for supply of some seeds of the varieties and also ready to provide professional management support to the Samithi and its members, to increase their farm income and make sure that such efforts are continued and the farmers have a better income and better life too.
    Medicinal Planters Association of India/Greenland Farms & Nursery Services/Sustainable Development & Management Consultants Network,
    Palakkad, Kerala/Bangalore, Karnataka.

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