Regional Workshop on “PPV&FR Act and Agro-biodiversity Exhibition”
A Regional Workshop on “PPV&FR Act and Agro-biodiversity Exhibition” was organized with the joint efforts of ICAR-National Rice Research Institute, Cuttack and Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority at ICAR- NRRI, Cuttack during 11-12 May, 2023. Dr. T. Mohapatra, chairperson of the PPV&FR Authority at New Delhi and former DG, ICAR and Secy., DARE chaired the event.
Padmashri Sabarmatee graced the inaugural session of the workshop as the Chief Guest while Shri Natabar Sarangi, distinguished farmer graced as the Guest of Honour for the occasion. The inaugural session started with the lighting of lamp followed by welcome and introduction of the guests and speakers to the audience by Dr. B.C. Patra, Principal Scientist and I/c, Institute Technology Management Unit (ITMU) cell of ICAR-NRRI, Cuttack. The Director in-charge, Dr. M.J. Baig, gave the initial remarks and addressed the gathering. Shri Natabar Sarangi, a distinguished farmer and teacher from Niali shared his experiences and talked about the importance of existing diversity of rice, need for its conservation and further improvement to eradicate their specific constrains to make them more popular among the farmers.
Further, Padmashri Sabarmatee reinforced the need of conservation of the existing diversity and the significant role to be played by the farmers in this regard. She urged the farmers to adopt and conserve one variety each, as a possible solution to the depleting diversity. She also urged for increasing the seed of the indigenous varieties with the slogan ‘Desi ru Besi’ to safeguard crop losses due to different biotic, abiotic stresses and climate vagaries. She emphasized the need for crop diversification and varietal diversification to restrict the spread of diseases to the level of epidemic and thereby, prevent economic losses. The need of maintaining soil health and environment health was also reinforced during her talk.
Dr. T. Mohapatra, Chairman, PPV&FR Authority, New Delhi, stated the significance of PPV&FR Act, its genesis and the activities of the Authority. He mentioned that more than 2000 farmers’ rice varieties are registered under PPV&FR Authority, of which more than 700 are from Odisha, reflecting the importance of the region as a major zone of diversity for the crop. He admired the works of the former speakers and appreciated the practical solutions suggested by them through their valuable experiences towards the conservation of the depleting rice diversity, recovering the depleting soil health and environment quality for development of a sustainable ecosystem for rice cultivation.
The inaugural session ended with formal vote of thanks by Dr. Sutapa Sarkar, Scientist, ICAR-NRRI, Cuttack and the Agro-biodiversity Exhibition. The stalls were exhibited by the technologies and diversity conserved for different cereals, millets, horticultural and medicinal crops by ICAR-NRRI, ICAR- NBPGR (Regional Station, Cuttack), ICAR-CTCRI Regional Station, ICAR-CHES, OUAT, Odisha Millet Mission, and MSSRF. More than 100 farmers, researchers and representatives from ICAR-NRRI, ICAR- NBPGR (Regional Station, Cuttack), ICAR-CTCRI Regional Station, ICAR-CHES, OUAT, Odisha Millet Mission, Civil society organisations like WASSAN and MSSRF attended the workshop. The delegates also visited the Oryza museum at ICAR-NRRI, Cuttack.
On May 12, 2023, technical sessions were conducted and lectures were given by Dr. Kundan Kishore, ICAR-CHES; Dr. Kalidas Pati, ICAR-CTCRI Regional station on biodiversity of horticultural crops and tuber crops. Diversity of different fruit crops like Mango, Citrus, Sitaphal, etc., vegetables like Brinjal; leafy crops like leafy amaranthus was showcased, their processing, nutritional profiling were discussed in detail. Different tuber crops, like Yam, Taro, alocasia, Yam bean; varietal diversity in Odisha, customer preference and intervention of CTCRI Regional Station in value addition and processing were discussed in details. Farmers showed great interest to collect planting materials and value-added products.
Dr. Shiv Dutt, IP&TM, ICAR, discussed about procedure, practices and intellectual property mechanism; discussed about the journey of ICAR in patent filing, Agri-Business incubation, Agri Innovate, interplay of different international legislations like TRIPs 1994, ITPGRFA 2004; CBD 1993 and domestic legislations like PPV&FR Act, 2001 and Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
Further, lectures on DUS testing mechanism, registration of farmer’s varieties was given by Sh. Dipal Roy Choudhury, Joint Registrar, PPV&FRA. Sh. Subrat Mani, M/s Agro Plus Pvt Ltd also talked about prospects for export of aromatic rice from Odisha.
In the concluding session, chaired by Dr T Mohapatra, Chairperson, PPV&FRA interacted with the representatives from Seed Industry; Scientists and farmers for their expectations for the Authority. Chairperson advised that due to constant evolution in genetics of crop plants in response to climate change, biotic/abiotic stress and other factors, plant breeding is a challenge for Scientists to develop newer, improved varieties. He informed that farmers must take the beneficial provisions for farmers’ rights under the Act to register traditional varieties, produce under a clustered approach, and create a value chain with the help of ICAR Institutes or a company.