The Goa State Bio-diversity Board (GSBB) in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR-Goa) has set up a seed bank to preserve indigenous paddy, cereals and vegetable varieties which are getting depleted at an alarming rate.
A seed bank is a type of gene bank where seeds of different crops and rare plant species are stored for future use. Seed banks are created to maintain and protect biodiversity, where samples of all species are collected and stored.
At least 26 biodiversity management committees from across state have been roped in to create a seed bank to preserve different seed varieties from cereals to paddy through natural farming.
The board expert committee and ICAR scientist will also carry out research with available secondary data and make field visits to identify extinct food crops
“The seed bank does not boast about the quantity of yield. But the quality of the seed and nutritious values in it are better compared to those in the paddy varieties that are cultivated with fertilizers and pesticides,” GSBB member said.
The ICAR scientist had identified 16 traditional varieties of rice, which have become extinct which include Damgo, Mudyo, Belo, Kalo belo, Valayo, Kendal, Korgut, Red Kochry, White Kochry, Saalvi, Kolvyo, Panyo, Shidde, Xhitto, Babri and Patni of which only two varieties of saline water-tolerant rice Korgut and Shidde are grown predominantly in larger areas of Khazan land in Loutolim, Amona and Chorao island.
In case seed reserves elsewhere are destroyed, the seed bank is opened to provide seeds to farmers at defined quantities for growing plants to ensure that genetic material is available even if varieties become endangered or extinct.
However the agriculture department which runs different schemes and extension programmes to boost paddy cultivation in the state has not made any efforts to conserve or preserve the local varieties of food crops.
Source:: The Navhind Times