Thursday, June 16, 2011

INDIA: Old seed festival a big hit

INDIA: Old seed festival a big hit: "Special Correspondent

Community-based organisation teams up with NGOs

The festival is held to help prevent the extinction of seeds

It helps preserve and protect traditional methods adopted by the Girijans

Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam.

Continuing life: A youth displaying his seed collection during Paatha Vittanala Pandaga at Killoguda, near Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam district onThursday. Girijan farmers from many villages in Visakha Agency area participated in the pandaga displaying a large collection of old seeds.

VISAKAHAPATNAM: The Paatha Vittanala Panduga (old seeds festival) was held for the seventh successive year at Killoguda village, eight kilometres from the famous tourist centre Araku Valley on Thursday.

A community-based organisation Sanjeevini has been organising the programme every year with support from NGOs Samata and CRY-Net Collective with many objectives. The panduga is meant to collect and store the seeds so that they do not become extinct; to maintain the biodiversity and food security in Girijan areas and to protect and preserve the traditional methods adopted by the Girijans in agriculture. This is also a channel to promote organic food.

The panduga has become popular among the Girijans and scores of them participate in it with lot of enthusiasm displaying seeds of some plants and crops that the plain people have not known so far but are important for Girijans and provide sustenance to them. Also during the panduga the annual day of the 10 Balamitra schools being run by Sanjeevani is celebrated. Competitions in the traditional art forms are held for children.

“Patha Vithanala Panduga has turned into a movement to reiterate the importance of the conventional form of food production and to strengthen Girijans' traditional and scientific knowledge of organic food”' said P. Devullu of Sanjeevini.

This unique festival stands out due to the fact that the young Girijan children get deeply involved in the farming processes, imbibing valuable lessons along with continuing to respect Girijan rituals and the unadulterated way of life”, Mr. Demullu explained.

This year Girijan farmers from 45 remote hill top villages of Sagara, Sovva, Gasaba, Korrai, Kllaput Panchayats of Araku and Dumbriguda mandals put on display many varieties of old dry seeds of rice, millets, vegetables and other local traditionally used seeds. The panduga commenced with Girijan Jagat Roy, Mukunda and Manikyam performing a Pooja according to Girijan customs.Sagara won first prize with a display of 205 varieties of old seeds. Killoguda won the second prize and Karakavalasa the third prize. Coordinator of Samata G. Srinivas, coordinators of Balamitra schoolsAnupama and Seetharama Raju, coordinator of CRY-Net Collective Suresh Kumar, B. David of PTG Welfare Association and others participated.

The panduga ended with a cultural programme in the evening.


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