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DDS’ Day at the AP Biodiversity Board celebrations of
World Biodiversity Day

                               

 

Ms Gangwar Anjamma, a non literate woman farmer-seedkeeper of the Deccan Development Society was honoured by the Government of Andhra Pradesh for her contribution to agro biodiversity last week. Ms Janaki Kondapi the Special Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh presented a shawl and a plaque on May 22nd on the occasion of the World Biodiversity Day.

Ms Anjamma was perhaps the only farmer to have earned such a recognition outside of the legion of farmers who are normally branded as a “progressive farmer” by the establishment. Such “progressive farmers would be known for their heavy chemical use and high external input dependence. Their only qualification is the high productivity of the monocrops that they grow.

In contrast Anjamma does not use a single ounce of chemicals on her farm. No input on her farm is external. Seeds are her own saved seeds, farmyard manure that she uses, comes from her own backyard. The animals she uses for ploughing are her own. She regularly saves and replants over 60 different seeds on her farm. She also is the seed keeper of her community and supplies all the seeds that fellow farmers in her village need.

DDS also put up the only agrobiodiversity exhibition at the venue where the AP Government and its Biodiversity Board celebrated the World Biodiversity Board. It was, as the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of AP Government said, the place where traditional biodiversity knowledge was at show. DDS farmers Ms Chandramma, Ms Sammamma and Ms Anjamma along with Ms Chilukamma managed the exhibition of seeds, books, a seed decked bullock cart and a host of posters proclaiming the Food and Seed Sovereignty that the DDS communities have achieved. The main banner of the DDS Exhibition read Community Conservation, Community Right.

The ethnic food served to the gallery of distinguished guests was an eye opener of many of the senior administrators of the government. The fare contained an array of authentic cuisines of the region prepared from millets, sorghum and a host of traditional crops. The high profile guests rediscovered the taste and nutritional values offered by millets which have been marginalized by the mainstream market. Most of them including the Chairman of the AP Biodiversity Board enthusiastically offered to promote these millets both for the food and farming diversity it offered.

Incidentally DDS is the only grassroots NGO which has been nominated to the AP Biodiversity Board.