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Farmers in India urged to protect traditional plant varieties

There is a need to protect the traditional varieties of plants, according to Thulasi Maddineni, Chief Executive Officer of Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat.

Inaugurating an awareness programme on ‘Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act 2001’ in Mangalore on Wednesday, she said that some of the traditional varieties, which were available earlier, are not there now.

Farmers have to propagate the traditional varieties of plants. Such plants should emerge as an income generating activity to farmers, she said.

Speaking on the Act, H. Hanumanthappa, Programme Coordinator at Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Mangalore, said that the objective of the Act was to establish an effective system for the protection of plant varieties and the rights of farmers and plant breeders.

The Act also aims at recognising and protecting the rights of farmers in respect of their contributions made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new varieties.

A farmer can save, use, sow, exchange, share or sell the produce, including the seed of a variety protected under the Act, in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act. However, the farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the Act, he said.

B.K. Deva Rao, paddy grower from Mittabagilu village in Dakshina Kannada district, said that many of the local varieties of paddy are vanishing at the village levels. However, the development of new varieties requires the traditional varieties also, he said.

He has been conserving many traditional varieties of paddy on his five-acre land in his village, he added.

K.M. Shankar, Dean of College of Fisheries, Mangalore, presided over the inaugural session.

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on December 18, 2013)

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