Staff Reporter

PALAKKAD: GALASA, or Group Approach for Locally Adapted and Sustainable Agriculture Scheme, successfully implemented in the district has received a national award for "group approach among farmers for the protection of biogenetic varieties of paddy."

Crop biodiversity

The award has been given to five farmers and C.R. Elsy, Associate Professor, Kerala Agriculture University, who headed the research project.

The award, instituted by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority under the Union Government for "Plant genome saviour community recognition," is given for outstanding contribution in serving, evaluating or utilising crop biodiversity and facilitating plant variety development. The farmers who got the award are Pradeesh and Velayudhankutty of Akampadam Chimbasala Padasekhara Samithi of Thenkurissy; Chandran of Nenmeni Padasekhara Samithi; and Aravindakshan and Krishnankutty of Mathur Padasekhara Samithi.

GALASA was introduced by scientists of the Kerala Agriculture University, in cooperation with the district panchayat, when farmers had been quitting paddy cultivation. The aim was to make the crop profitable.

The scheme had been experimented in the paddy fields of the district from 1997 to 2003 jointly by the farmers, the university and the Agriculture Department. It developed two high-yielding varieties of paddy: Varna and Priya.