Losing our food crops

Different varieties of pearl millet seen at the gene bank of the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Andhra Pradesh. Photo: K. Gajendran  

Even at a time when “food” has suddenly acquired news value in India, whether in relation to the food crisis of 2008, rising food prices, compromised food safety highlighted in the Bt Brinjal debate or the shortcomings in the food security legislation, not enough is being said about diversity of food.

Food diversity in terms of diverse kinds of foods cooked and consumed in diverse kinds of ways, varying as per agro-ecological regions, as per seasons and as per communities and their cultural preferences, has been an integral part of India since ancient times. Further, enormous varietal diversity within crops has been a distinct feature of Indian agriculture suited to the diverse agro-ecological situations across the country. It is estimated that around two lakh varieties of rice used to exist in India at one point of time, for instance.

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Kavitha Kuruganti is with the Kheti Virasat Mission in Punjab and Dr. G.V. Ramanjaneyulu is with Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2021 5:14:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/Losing-our-food-crops/article16129214.ece

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