Enahancing efforts to educate the indigenous communities on the need to conserve natural resources especially the local traditional farmer’s varieties and land races.

June 20, 2017

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India

Enahancing efforts to educate the indigenous communities on the need to conserve natural resources especially the local traditional farmer’s varieties and land races.

About the Implementing organization

Name: Sanjeevini Rural Development Society

Country: India

Year of establishment: 1998

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Legally recognized non-profit status / Indigenous group or organization / Ethnic minority group or association / Organization for local crop diversity and development of tribal communities

Description

This can be realized by the following strategies
a. Educating the indigenous communities on the need conserve local crop diversity that is ethnic to the region
b. Collection of traditional farmers varieties and putting them to characterization and evaluation before lining up for ex-situ conservation in the repositories (Genebanks)
c. Encouraging and establishing community managed seed systems
d. Documentation of indigenous traditional knowledge especially in the context of local crop diversity and supporting the farmers for its on farm in-situ conservation

Nature Element

Forests / Mountains / Wetlands / Rivers / Grasslands / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Mainstreaming into sectors / Awareness and education / Advocacy for land & water rights

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Health / Renewable energy / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)

          

Environmental Impacts

Current efforts of Sanjeevini are directed at promoting traditional agricultural practices and integrating these into sustainable biodynamic farming for enhanced livelihoods and protection of natural farming. Rich traditional knowledge and food security of these indigenous community’s face dangers of being wiped out by corporate agriculture and some public sector practices too promoting cash and genetically modified crops in lieu of traditional crops basically cultivated by organic methods. There is serious threat to extinction of these organic farming practices and diversity in plant genetic resources the areas that Sanjeevini works are still very virgin untouched by the modern practices and hence the urgent need to sensitize indigenous farmers in order to ensure protection of their traditional knowledge and germplasm. Besides, indigenous agriculture is closely linked to forest and water resources management which would be drastically affected by any shifts in farming trends.

Sustainable Development Impacts

Extensively worked on Joint forest management and community forest management through Vana Samrakshana Samithis (Forest Welfare Groups), eight such groups are in operation in Anandapuram and Chintagadili Mandals providing forest protection and usufruct rights over the forests in the region. Activities of Sanjeevini at community level be it in conservation of natural resources, in situ cultivation of traditional varieties and land races, community seed banks, marketing of organic produce of the indigenous people, education to indigenous children, community health service, training and awareness programmes for conservation and community wellbeing helped the NGO build a very close working relationship and developed a deep-rooted bond of trust with the people. Worked relentlessly building an equitable society for down trodden in Rural and tribal areas by bringing improvement in livelihood index, social justice, self-governance, and resource development with 3215 families.

Scalability

Women leaders of the NGO play a vital role in generating awareness among the communities on the necessity of conservation of natural resources. Sanjeevini's yearly seed festival where the message of conservation of traditional farmer’s varieties and land races are spread through ethnic music and heritage dance sequences like Dhimsa. Women are also made leaders of the seed collection mission on regular basis from farmers to be stored in the Community Seeds Banks for future requirements by the farmers during crop season. Expansion of these measures at the national level has to be taken up on priority realizing the threat of fast dwindling natural resources and crop diversity in the face of global changing climatic elements.

Replicability

Taking into account the need for expansion to promote on-farm management and conservation of field and landrace crops as a key component of the country’s in situ conservation strategy, Sanjeevini in association with NBPGR and other NGOs embarked on the establishment of a new strategy to set up community seed banks in the state of Andhra Pradesh and rest of the country.
The efforts are based on research about the extent to which farmers are still engaged in growing landraces, the main factors influencing their choices of crops and crop varieties, the rate and scope of loss of diversity, the impact of climate change on agriculture and seed systems, the strengths and weaknesses of traditional seed saving and exchange practises, and the prospects of setting up a locally managed and governed community seed bank.

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