India is not averse to sharing plant genetics, but farmers’ interest will not be compromised

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said that there is a need to protect the less used crops in time. climate friendly agriculture And our struggle for nutritional security depends heavily on your decisions and actions. India has been a staunch supporter of sharing the wealth of plant genetics resources. A look at the national gene banks reveals that about 10 per cent of the germplasms are of Indian origin. Our thinking is very clear that the genetic resources of plants should be made available for research and sustainable use.

The Agriculture Minister was addressing the ninth session (GB-9) of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetics Resources (ITPGRFA) held in Delhi on Monday. India is hosting this conference for the first time. The conference will continue till September 24. This treaty is a binding agreement, which came into force on 29 June 2004. At present there are 149 parties including India. Through this the rights of farmers are being protected.

Keeping the interest of farmers in mind

Tomar said that we cannot ignore the contribution of farmers, indigenous communities, tribal population and especially the women of the community in the conservation and selection of plant genetics resources over time. Therefore, it is our duty to keep their interests in mind when considering amendments and improvements to the Plant Genetics Resource Treaty (ITPGFRA). India stands firm in its faith and actions in the commitments of the multilateral agreement. Article 9 of ITPGFRA deals with the rights of farmers. Which India fully adheres to. 66 farmers and farming communities of the country have been honored with Plant Genome Savior Awards.

Why Plant Genetic Resources Are Weak

The Union Agriculture Minister said that plant genetics resources are the source of solutions to breeding challenges. Plant genetic resources are vulnerable due to habitat destruction and climate change. Their protection is the shared responsibility of humanity. We should use all modern technology as well as traditional knowledge to preserve them. Global agricultural research is focusing on a few major crops for obvious reasons.

Crop diversity needed

In the inaugural session, Tomar said that the Plant Genetics Treaty aims to recognize the contribution of farmers and local communities to the diversity of crops. Over the centuries, tribal and traditional farming communities have continuously adjusted the dimensions of the rich genetic material available with them. have shaped them. The covid pandemic has taught us some lessons. Availability and access to food, stability – is paramount to peace. India has been committed to ensuring food and nutritional security for its citizens. We need to ensure bountiful crop production year after year. The answer is crop diversity and diversification.

Farmers’ rights should never be compromised

Tomar said that no negotiation is possible on the cost of food security. All international forums must not forget that food is an essential fundamental right. Developing countries will be motivated by the need to ensure that the rights of farmers producing food are never compromised. This community is also responsible for the existence of plant genetics resources that we have today. We have many places and people around the world who have conserved invaluable genetic resources and valuable traditional knowledge.

On this occasion Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja, Indian Council of Agricultural Research Director General Dr Himanshu Pathak, GB-9 Bureau Chairperson Ms. Yasmina Al-Bahloul, UN Coordinator Shombi Sharp, Agriculture Ministry Joint Secretary Ashwini Kumar and GB-9 Secretary General. Many dignitaries from the agriculture sector were present, including Kent Nendoze.

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