Modern methods of industrial farming and the foray of multinational companies into India have threatened our traditional seed stocks. Though indigenous varieties are still preserved by a few farmers, they are getting depleted at an alarming rate. Self reliance on food and adaptability to climate change is critical for an agricultural country like India, which makes this is a major threat to our national sovereignty.
It is becoming increasingly clear that to maintain biodiversity in farmers’ fields an alternative system of seed supply has to be created. Although farmers greatly feel the need to regrow some of the traditional varieties they have lost, one has to be able to provide them with sufficient quantities of local seed varieties in order to fulfill this need. The community has to be convinced or has to feel the need to bring back lost biodiversity and any effort should be aimed at the community level. Several groups across the country are trying to preserve these varieties through on farm conservation.
CIKS and Navdanya are two non-profit groups that have been very successful in the promotion of seed banks and sustainable farming. This model needs to be replicated in the rest of the country with immediate urgency.