Communities say they have taken a pledge to conserve bio-diversity long ago

Being eco-friendly and living harmoniously with nature, the farming communities in this part of the district are demanding that the status of bio-diversity heritage site (BHS) for about 20,000 hectares in 39 villages of four mandals be accorded to them.

Here, the communities had taken a pledge to conserve bio-diversity long ago.

Unique practices

The farming communities claim that they have been practising bio-diversity conservation for generations with the use of intercropping, crop rotation practices, crop protection practices and maintaining community seed banks as well as passing the culture and practices to the next generation of women who come to the villages as daughters-in-law.

A rare and unique practice that has been taking place for the past few years includes women in the villages symbolically handing over a seed-filled pot to the next generation to keep their seed wealth protected, which would assure them total control over their farming and food in future.

Passed to generations

The handing over of seed pots to the next generation is celebrated like a festival by residents of many villages in this area.

Farmers in Zaheerabad area sow more than 24 varieties of crops including Jowar, Korra, Bajra, Sama, Kodi Sama, Black Gram, Green Gram, Red Gram, Niger, Voma, Ragi, Vulvalu and Pundi during kharif followed by Chickpea, Sunflower, Sai Jonna, Lathyrus, Lentils, Wheat, Linseed and Mustard during rabi season.

The farming communities from the 39 villages in four mandals – Jarasangam, Raikod, Nyalakal and Zaheerabad - are demanding that the farms in their areas be notified as BHS in view of the uniqueness of the farming practices that they follow.

Perfect crop mix

Depending on the agronomic characters of various crops, farmers here sow an ideal crop mix that meets their family food requirement as well as fodder requirement of their cattle. “The crop mix will be so perfect that it is pest and disease tolerant, drought resistant and can withstand heavy rains or no rains,” says P.V. Satheesh, Director, Deccan Development Society (DDS).

The government has expressed its willingness to accord BHS status for the farming areas in these mandals with entrusting some responsibilities, but not with any rights, he added.