Please watch this inspiring video of Dr. Debal Deb, an ecologist who is conserving 720 varieties of rice single handedly in West Bengal and now in Odisha. Please click on the link below to see Debal’s interview which summarises his pathbreaking work in the conservation field. Else cut and paste this link on your browser to see the video.
India had a rich treasure of 82000 indigenous rice varieties and in Bengal we had more than 5500 varieties.These region specific varieties may be termed folk varieties.It has many typical and varied characters ranging from short duration to long duration,fine to bold,one grain to two/three grains per rice,purple rice Khara,high yielder (5-6 ton an ha) to low yielder,scented to non scented,It can be grown in marginal land like deep water to dry scanty rainfall area etc.After the Green Revolution these are fast dwindling from farmers’ filed.Only a handful of folk rice are extant in farmers field.Ecologist Dr Debal Deb first initiated folk rice conservation work way back in 1997-98 in Basudha of Bankura District of West Bengal.He has now 690 folk varieties and it is the largest non governmental seed bank in eastern India.He characterized 416 folk varieties (Seeds of Tradition Seeds Of Future,2005, Navdanya,New Delhi) Inspired by his work Mr Anupam Paul of Agricultural Training Centre Fulia (Phulia), Nadia, West Bengal has initiated almost same work in 2001.He has now 205 folk rice varieties.Some farmers also realized the importance of conservation and they have started.Mr Avra Chakraborty of Burdwan has also initiated conserving our rich bio resources. There are more than 30 ha of folk rice in Ausgram Block of Burdwan and Mr Sourin Chaterjee and others have taken keen interest in this matter.farmers have found an effective alternative to input intensive modern rice varieties(HYV).Keralasundari give 4-5 ton a ha which is higher or same as popular modern variety Mtu 7029. Conservation of bio diversity helps in maintaining future food security.
You can also go through Debal’s own website to learn more about his life and work:www.cintdis.org.