Landrace renaissance in the mountains: Experiences of the Beej Bachao Andolan in the Garhwal Himalayan region, India
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Singh, Vir; Jardhari, Vijay. 2001. Landrace renaissance in the mountains: Experiences of the Beej Bachao Andolan in the Garhwal Himalayan region, India . In: An exchange of experiences from South and South East Asia: Proceedings of the international symposium on Participatory plant breeding and participatory plant genetic resources enhancement, Pokhara, Nepal, 1-5 May 2000 . Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Participatory Research and Gender Analysis (PRGA), Program Coordination Office, Cali, CO. p. 87-96.
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The development of on-farm conservation of agro biodiversity is of particular significance in inaccessible, fragile, and risk-ridden mountain areas, such as the Garhwali Himalayan Region in India. Having experienced the negative impact of conventional institution-led breeding programs (that negligee farmers And their knowledge systems), the farmers in the mountains of Garhwali launched the Beej Bachao Andolan- the Save Seed Movement. The main objectives of this movement are to save the seeds of the landraces the farmers have developed over several generations of selection and to strengthen and restore Sustainable organic systems of farming. The farmers are doing their own experimentation on the landraces in the Henwal Valley of Garhwal and Comparing the results with me formal-led demonstrations of high-yielding varieties (HYVs). Many of the landraces produce more food grains than the HYVs do; straw-grain ratios and recovery percentages of most of the landraces are also considerably higher than those of the HYVs propagated under conventional interventions in the region. The landraces are sturdier and lees vulnerable, requiring no use of expensive External inputs, which has reduced the risks of crop failure. The Save Seed Movement is an outstanding example of how farmers themselves can become involved in Conservation of genetic resources, revive their once lost landraces, put them lo sustainable use and challenge the modem systems of plant breeding. On-farm conservation of landraces and cultural practices involving farmer-Ied breeding programs provides a strong basis for sustainability in mountain agriculture. Mountain farmers have always been aggressive plant breeders. Their knowledge and rich experiences should be taken advantage of in evolving new programs of participatory plant breeding in the region.
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