Conservation of Millets Echoed at Bio-diversity Festival in Kandhamal

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Bhubaneswar: Bio-diversity Festival locally known as “Burlang Yatra” was held in Dupi village by Kutia Kondh, an indigenous community in Kandhamal district, Rayagada. More than 800 people participated in the festival.

Rajamadu majhi, a woman farmer from Kutia kondh community said it is a festival of our hope, revival of our lost seeds, and sharing our knowledge with others. We have restored more than 25 types of millets, pulses seeds with the support of NIRMAN, a voluntary organisation.

Pedamadu Majhi another Kutia kondh woman farmer said that Millets based mixed farming is the heritage of Kutia kondh community and we have been engaged with reviving the millets farming since 2012.

Mr. Prasant Mohanty, Executive Director of NIRMAN said that the festival has been a platform for farmers to come together to share their indigenous knowledge, exchange their ideas and culture. It create spaces for identification of indigenous crops which are pest and disease resistant, gives better yields and income to the farmers. Unlike the conventional market based seed supply systems, exchange of indigenous heirloom seeds and knowledge at the indigenous seed festivals is free of cost. Furthermore, the ancient practice is socio-culturally, economically, institutionally and ecologically sustainable.

Most importantly the festival is unique in many ways- it is revival of seed and crop diversity, revival of knowledge system and revival of hope in the current agricultural crises.

The festival was organised by Kutia Kondh communities in collaboration with Nirman, MINI and CWS. Mr. Baikuntha Charan Sahoo, Mr. Sanjay Kumar Barik and Mr. Jyoti Mishra, Agriculture Extension officers from Kandhamal, Ms. Puspanjali Satapathy, Editor of Banabarata and Mr. Suresh Chandra Bisoi, Adviser, Nirman, Mr. Pradeep Kumar, Researcher on Traditional Healing system deliberated in the function. women farmers shared their rich experience on the reviving of millets and pulses diversity. Traditional dance, folk songs, exhibition and exchange of traditional seeds and sharing of experience among farmers were unique in the festival. Another attraction was millets snacks, foods in the bio-diverse festival and exchange of seeds among women farmers. Farmers growing more types of millets crops in mixed farming system were awarded at the occasion.

 

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