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The DDS Mobile Bio-diversity Festival 2008

The DDS Mobile Bio-diversity Festival caravan, starting on 14th January 2008, will share the sheer celebration of food sovereignty among other farmers in the region. Their colourful caravan will soon start rolling in over 55 villages of Medak district.

Since 1999, the annual Mobile Bio-diversity Festival of DDS has made its presence felt as a unique festival of the rural communities, dialoguing with fellow farmers and citizens about ecologically


sustainable agriculture, community seed sovereignty and the idea of local production, local consumption and local markets.

Since 1999, the annual Mobile Bio-diversity Festival of DDS has made its presence felt as a unique festival of the rural communities, dialoguing with fellow farmers and citizens about ecologically sustainable agriculture, community seed sovereignty and the idea of local production, local consumption and local markets.

The Mobile Bio-diversity caravan is welcomed by people of all the villages through which it travels exuding an atmosphere of gaiety. It symbolises an agrarian system which is capable of sustaining the lives and livelihoods of the entire rural community. Hundreds of traditional varieties of seeds (of the Deccan dryland region) are displayed in the caravan of tastefully decorated bullock-carts. The harvest festival of Sankranti merges with the festivity here. The festival concludes on February 13, 2008.

The final National Biodiversity Action Plan of India has strongly endorsed biodiversity festivals as a tool for the promotion of agri-biodiversity all over the country alongside recommending that the Community Gene Banks model of the DDS should become a national model.

The procession of bullock carts, decorated with sheaves of grain, flower garlands and colourful fabrics is an overpowering image of bountiful crops and food-sovereign villages. Inside the evocatively painted carts there are small baskets with their own glass cases containing seeds, a colourful shop window of biological diversity on wheels.

Each village greets the procession with songs and dances. Women farmers, moving along the caravan, spreading their message of ecological farming even as other women prepare traditional dishes bringing out the culinary significance of their crops..

It is a time for many to turn nostalgic about food and food crops they dissociated with long time ago pressed by aggressive marketing of external input based agriculture which they have been forced to practise today. In every village there are discussions about the concerns and demands of the rural population, especially the poor and illiterate women. Village women document the discussions themselves with a microphone and a video camera.

After a month and over 60 villages, the procession ends in the central Community Seed Shrine run by the women’s sanghams. Over 80 small, colourful clay pots with seed are arranged in rows, an oil lamp is ceremonially lit in front of each one, to the background of the women’s sung prayers.

Continuing the tradition, on January 14th the Biodiversity Festival - 2008 will start from the village Indoor, Raikode Mandal on the occasion of Makara Sankranti and after touching ground at various villages, will close on February 13, 2008.

Incidentally this particular festival is marked by the presence of many organic farmers and farmer organisations from across the country in the inaugural function. These members are associated with Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI), an all India network of farmers, individuals and institutions, many of whom have been in the forefront of the organic farming movement for over two decades.

JATHARA ROUTE MAP - 2008

Sl. No.

Date

Village Name

1

14-01-08

Indur Opening Ceremony

2

15-01-08

Mamidipally *

Sangapur

3

16-01-08

Pippadpally

Gunthamarpally

4

17-01-08

Jamgi

Kambalpally

5

18-01-08

Dhanwar *

Tekur

6

20-01-08

Raikode Mandal Jathara *

7

21-01-08

Nagwar

Shamshoddinpur *

8

22-01-08

Itikepally *

Huligera

9

23-01-08

Khanjamalpur *

Humnapur

10

24-01-08

Matur

Cheekurthi

11

25-01-08

Raghavapur

Miriyampur *

12

26-01-08

Hameerabad *

Malgi

13

27-01-08

Nyalkal Mandal Jathara *

14

28-01-08

Gunjothi

Ganeshpur, Husselli

15

29-01-08

Gangwar

Mamidigi *

16

30-01-08

Rejinthal

Kalimela *

17

31-01-08

Yelgoi *

Basanthpur

18

01-02-08

Potpally

Metlakunta

19

02-02-08

Zaheerabad Mandal Jathara *

20

03-02-08

Chinna Hyderabad *

Hothi-B

21

04-02-08

Hothi-K *

Ippapally *

22

05-02-08

Raipally

Khasimpur

23

06-02-08

Bidakanne *

Pastapur

24

08-02-08

Jharasangam Mandal Jathara *

25

09-02-08

Jeerlapally

Pyalaram

26

10-02-08

Cheelamamidi *

Eedulapally

27

11-02-08

Yedakulapally *

Chilkapally

28

13-02-08

Machnoor Closing Ceremony

*Jathara Meetings Villages