India has enacted the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act in 2001 for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new plant varieties. Keeping in view the past, present and future contributions of the farming communities in agro-biodiversity conservation, the Act recognizes and rewards such communities. For this purpose, the Authority has recognized and rewarded large number of individual farmers and farming communities who are engaged in agriculture for generations, in conserving agro-biodiversity and their contribution in the development of improved varieties went unnoticed. This reorganization and reward made for unsung heroes who have made important contribution towards advancement of Indian agriculture.
Authority has given 'Plant Genome Savior Community Recognition' certificates to 9 farmer’s communities during the year 2007-08 and 2008-09.
In the year 2007-08 recognition certificates were given to;
(1)Rung Bhotiya Farmers' Community, Pithoragarh, Uttrakhand for low gluten wheat germplasm
(2) Sh B Pradeesh & others, Pallakad, Kerala for Kunju kunju rice land races.
(3)Panchbati Gramya Unayana Samiti, Koraput, Odisha for conservation of rice landraces and also sharing these with scientists for use in their crop improvement programme.
(4)Sh Sundaram Verma, Sikar, Rajasthan for excellent work done for conservation of traditional varieties of pearl millet, chickpea & cumin.
(5)Swathi Samudaya Beej Bank, Tumkur, Karnataka for selection and conservation of white seeded horsegram.
In 2008-09 recognition certificates were given to:
(1)Vrihi Beej Binimoy Kendra, West Bengal for conservation of 550 rice land races.
(2)Farming and Tribal Communities of Jharkhand, Ranchi for conservation of 19 rice landraces having unique resistant gene against Bacterial Leaf Blight.
(3)Sh P Narayanan Unny, Pallakad, Kerala for conservation of Navara rice landraces.
(4)Kuruchiya and Kuruma Tribal Communities, Wayanad, Kerala for very good work done for conservation of rice land races with drought tolerance and medicinal properties.
After a series of meetings with experts, the Authority in consultation with Govt. of India has now finalized the modalities and criteria for “Plant Genome Savior Community Award”. A maximum of five awards per year was constituted and only two awards were given for 2009-10. The award consists of Rs 10 lakhs in cash, a citation and a memento. The selection of awardee (s) is done by a national level committee. Brochure of the Plant Genome Savior community award can be seen (here) and details of award (here).
As decided, the awards were given to two farming communities representing small / marginal farmers and men and women of tribal / rural areas located in agro-biodiversity hotspots of the country. The awards were given to representatives of the Kapotgiri Nandiveerimath Seva foundation and Panchabati Gramya Unayana Samiti on 16th July, 2011. The award were awarded by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmonhan singh and presented by Shri Sharad Pawar, Hon’ble Union Minister of Agriculture & Food Processing Industries, Government of India. Citations of Plant Genome Savior Community Award 2009-10 can be seen here.
Kopatgiri Nandiveerimath Seva Foundation was awarded in recognition of their contribution towards the conservation and documentation of rare and endangered medicinal plant species in Kopatgiri hills, Gadag, Karnataka. Shri M.P.Shivakumar Mahaswamigalu, Founder President, along with the members of his foundation received the award.
Panchabati Gramya Unayana Samiti was awarded for their outstanding contribution in conservation of traditional land races of rice in Koraput region of Odisha. Shri Surendra Pradhani, Secretary, along with the samiti members received the award.
Authority has invited application for Genome Savior Community Award for the year 2010-11.Detail of advertisement can be seen (here). There shall be maximum of five awards. Application should be filled in prescribed format in language either in English(here) or Hindi(here).Duly filled application should reach the Registrar (Farmer Rights), Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights, S-2, A-block, NASC Complex, DPS Marg, Opposite Todapur Village, New Delhi-110012 on or before 30th April, 2012. Application received after this date will be automatically treated for next year 2011-2012 awards.
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