28 July 2021, New Delhi: Indigenous varieties of rice are being promoted through varietal improvement programmes of ICAR. During the past few years, 574 indigenous varieties of rice have been propagated and tested at more than 10,000 farmers’ fields, involving state agricultural universities, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) and Non-Government Organisations through a project titled “Mainstreaming Agricultural biodiversity conservation and utilization of the agriculture sector to ensure ecosystem services and reduce vulnerability”. Farmers are trained on conservation, improvement and use of traditional/ indigenous varieties through participatory approach. Further, for access to seeds of these indigenous varieties, community seed banks have been established at community level involving KVKs and Self Help Groups in remote and tribal areas of the country. A total of 26 community seed banks conserving >4000 native landraces and farmers’ varieties of different food crops including rice have been strengthened and established.
Communities and farmers conserving and promoting indigenous rice varieties have been conferred with Genome Savour awards by Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&FRA) and following awards have been given since 2009-10:
- Plant Genome Saviour Community Award (Rs. 10 lakh each ): 13
- Plant Genome Saviour Farmer Rewards (Rs. 1.5 lakhs each): 12
- Plant Genome Saviour Farmer Recognitions (Rs. 1.0 lakh each): 19
Five rice varieties viz., Lalat and Improved Lalat (GI value: 54) as low GI and Swarna, Sambha Mahsuri and Shaktiman (GI value <60) as intermediate GI have been identified. All these varieties are in the seed chain and are under cultivation by the farmers.
The details of indigenous rice varieties/ germplasm are available with ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi. A total of 45,107 indigenous varieties/ land races of rice are conserved in the National Gene Bank at ICAR-NBPGR, New Delhi. In addition, 1645 farmer’s varieties are registered with PPV&FRA.
This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar in Lok Sabha today.