Chhattisgarh: seed banks come to the rescue of farmers in Balrampur

RAIPUR: In an attempt to provide timely planting and conserve seeds of local varieties, seed banks have been initiated in many parts of the district. Known as, they are gaining popularity among farmers while they play an important role in promoting the use of indigenous seeds in agriculture.

The USP of this seed bank is that indigenous seeds are delivered to farmers in the form of a loan. For these seeds, no fee is charged, however, farmers have to return once and a half the borrowed seeds, after the harvest is harvested. This concept has gained popularity among farmers in the district in a short period of time. The varieties, which used to be the identity of the areas dominated by tribes, have become a fading memory in this era of hybrid agriculture. The saddest part is that the farmers themselves are forgetting the names of some of these.

Through this bank, farmers are encouraged to use seeds of various types of cereal crops in rice paddies such as karhani, chhindamori, kalajira, goda, love and small grain crops such as kodo, kutki, ragi, maduva, etc. Legumes and oilseed crops such as Arhar, Chaiti Arhar, Maghi Arhar are also available at the Bihan Bank run by Bario Village Panchayat in the Rajpur development block. Vegetable seeds are also preserved in the seed bank, such as lauwa, bhura kohda, jhingi, torai, bodi, chili, tomato, munga, dhan michai, etc. Inspired by this saga, farmers in other districts also seek guidance from this seed bank.

Official sources report that over time there was a considerable change in traditional agriculture in the district, due to climate change. Currently, farmers are using new seed varieties, because the local varieties that have been harvested for years are almost on the verge of extinction now. With this in mind, the Sanjeev Kumar Jha district collector emphasized the need to establish the Bihan Bank in the district for the conservation of local varieties.

The success story of this concept is in everyone's sight; 13 Bihan banks were established in different parts of the district in September. After this, the collection of local indigenous seeds, which are on the verge of extinction, began in all development blocks. These banks are being operated by women's self-help groups, under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission.