Other States

Farmers demand ‘seed sovereignty’

The government should ensure ‘seed sovereignty’ for farmers, demanded peasant leaders from different parts of the country here on Sunday.

“Seed sovereignty is not a baseless ideological position, but a pragmatic approach. It is an integral part of food security and sovereignty of a community or a nation. Seed being handed over to multinational corporations, many of them notorious for their monopolistic tendencies and operations, is disastrous for the livelihood of millions,” said Saroj, a leader of Paschim Odisha Krushak Sangathan.

About 400 farmers from Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Jharkhand and Karnataka under the banner of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) and Desi Bihana Surakhya Manch, Odisha assembled here to chalk out a strategy to put up united front for securing preservation of traditional seed varieties in the country.

“Government should encourage, and invest in farmer-level seed production of locally suitable, diverse seeds. Community seed banks should be set up with schematic government investment,” he said.

Farmers demanded that governments should assess and distribute promising traditional seed varieties through the department’s regular programmes while agricultural research and extension programme should focus on farmer-led participatory varietal selection and breeding programmes.

“Seed breeding should be in organic conditions so that seed does not become a package that brings in other unwanted inputs like chemicals. Private (commercial seed) sector should work in a statutory regime that allows the government to regulate not just the quality but price at which seed is sold, in addition to laying down a strict accountability regime that includes penalties, compensation and remediation where required,” they demanded.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2020 5:13:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/farmers-demand-seed-sovereignty-in-bhubaneswar/article6434327.ece

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