By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 25 Apr: Graphic Era Hill University has organised a biodiversity convention on the occasion of International Seed Day. Today, on the first day of the two-day convention, well-known activist and leader of the ‘Beej Bachao Andolan’, Vijay Jardhari said that the nonstop erosion of soil from Uttarakhand has made the plains fertile, but left the mountains impoverished.
The university is organising the convention in a bid to promote, conserve and rejuvenate seeds, soil and millets in the state. Addressing the convention as Chief Guest, Jardhari said that farming is not a business, but is deeply related to culture. Preserving old seeds is a challenge. Like humans, seeds also have their lineage and destroying it is a crime. The Corona pandemic has made people realise the importance of agriculture and millets. Millets are not only nutritious, but are one the best sources for boosting immunity. Referring to wild animals and harsh weather conditions in Uttarakhand as the biggest threat to agriculture, he said that the government must take steps to rectify this. The wild and original varieties of seeds, he added, are very powerful and resilient and can easily survive in tough conditions.
Treasurer, IMI, Binita Shah said that conservation of soil, seeds and millets in Uttarakhand form the basis of development in hill areas. It is necessary to focus on all types of millets and not just finger millet (maduva). The government should make a policy on land use so that land lying vacant due to migration can be cultivated. This will not only help produce more food-grains, but also revive soil fertility.
Pro-Chancellor of the University, Dr J Kumar said that Graphic Era Hill University started its School of Agriculture in 2017. Since then, the department is actively involved in agriculture-related research and has also been working to find solutions to the problems of farmers. Startups are needed in the field of agriculture and focus needed to be in that direction. Citing the traditional twelve grain (barah anaja) farming practice of Uttarakhand, he said that the ancestors understood the importance of soil fertility.
Navprabhat from Mount Valley Development Authority spoke about the aim and importance of the convention.
Director General of the University, Dr HN Nagaraja, and Vice Chancellor Dr R Gawri were also present at the convention. Dr Himani Binjola anchored the event.