ICAR-CIWA Organized Farmer’s Seed Fair to Strengthen rural Seed Network

As farmer seed network at village level plays an important role in selection of crops and cropping system, the organization of seed fair got into prominence for sustaining agricultural productivity and conservation of biodiversity. Women play a major role in rural seed network which provided impetus to ICAR- Central Institute for Women in Agriculture to move forward with the above concept. Farmer’s SEED FAIR had been organized by ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture at Hariharpur village of Nayagarh District on 30 May, 2018. The programme was organized under the project “Improving availability of quality pulse seeds with participation of women” with the theme "Farmer’s Seed Fair to Strengthen Local Seed Network”. The seed fair was intended to create awareness in the locality and highlight the role of farmwomen in preserving the traditional cultivars through self produced seed. The fair also made available an environment for convergence of views of different government and non government organizations on development of a local seed network, created a platform for exchange of knowledge on schemes and programmes and increased the visibility on women’s contribution towards attaining seed sovereignty. On this occasion a Farmer- Scientist – Other stakeholder’s interface was conducted. It emerged that, as substituting the local pulse land races germplasm is very difficult, strengthening the seed network on local cultivars in most pulses would prove beneficial in the long run.
The event was graced by Honourable Collector Nayagarh, Shri Thirumala Naik as Chief Guest. He emphasized on need of awareness programmes for farmwomen to avail the facilities extended by governmental schemes and programmes. He expressed that, indigenous seed fairs can be a potential game changer in improving seed availability and conserving valuable local land races. Dignitaries like Block Developments officer, DDM NABARD, DDA-Agriculture & PD-ATMA, Secretary Regulated Market Committee, Officials from Block, Co-operative department, pulse specialists, also graced the occasion and expressed their views and answered the queries of farm women in the interface. The Director of ICAR-CIWA Dr Santosh Kumar Srivastava briefed the objectives of seed fair and highlighted the contribution of the institute towards empowering women in agriculture. He gave an account of women’s role in food production, household nutrition, agro-entrepreneurship development and conservation of biodiversity. Local women leaders were identified to carry forward the project work and mobilized the other women pulse seed growers. Sarpanch Ms Sanjuta Sitha highlighted the constraints of women pulse growers and assured all kind of support to them. Dr laxmi Priya Sahoo, Scientist in Seed Technology and Principal Investigator of the project informed the interface that the Institute is now ready to link 100 Pulse seed producing women with e-NAM and registration of a producer Company.
The Seed fair offered an opportunity to share and exchange seeds thus providing a platform for strengthening local seed network. It also enabled in initiating the Biodiversity mapping, which would help in documentation of the local indigenous cultivars and landraces, thus enabling in conserving the bio resources of the cultivated plant species specially food crops for sustainable use in future. The seed fair was a step towards fulfilling the objective of the project for making available quality seeds in the locality. Two Hundreed fifty farmwomen of a six village cluster namely Hariharpur, Abhimanpur, karada, katrajhari,godipally and Chadeyapalli of Odgaon Block, Nayagarh District of Odisha showcased more than 300 cultivars of self produced seeds of local indigenous and climate resilient varieties of paddy, pulses (blackgram, greengram, lathyrus, cowpea, French bean, lablab bean, cluster bean, field pea, horse gram, red gram), millets, oilseeds (linseed, sesamum, mustard, groundnut, castor, niger) vegetables (onion, radish, pumpkin, ridge gourd, brinjal, snake gourd, bitter gourd, chilli, tomato, okra, elephant foot yam, taro, yam etc.) and fruits. Products developed by farmwomen from indigenous cultivars also found their place in the fair. Two ICAR Institutes, Sambhav, a local NGO working on biodiversity concerns, one pulse processors also showcased the women friendly technologies and bio resources in the fair. Six progressive farm women from four different villages of the District were felicitated with certificates and award kits for their excellence in pulse farming. Knowledge on Swachh Bharat was given to the audience.

The entire programme was Co-ordinated by Dr. Laxmi Priya Sahoo, Dr. S. K. Srivastava, Mr. S.K. Behera Mrs. Tapaswini Sahoo, Er. Chaitrali S. Mahtre and Mrs. Ankita Sahu,