In a significant event held on September 12, 2023, President Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the First Global Symposium on Farmers’ Rights in New Delhi. This symposium, organized by the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (International Treaty) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, was hosted by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
It saw collaboration with key institutions such as the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), and ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR).
Farmers as Guardians of Crop Diversity
President Murmu, in her address, underscored the pivotal role of the global farming community as the foremost conservers of crop diversity. She emphasized that farmers bear a unique responsibility and wield considerable power in safeguarding and revitalizing various plant and species varieties crucial for the well-being of all.
India’s Rich Agro-Biodiversity
Highlighting India’s unique position in terms of biodiversity, President Murmu noted that despite occupying only 2.4 percent of the world’s land area, the country is home to 7-8 percent of all recorded plant and animal species. She lauded India’s status as one of the nations with the widest range of plants and species. This wealth of agro-biodiversity has, in President Murmu’s view, been a global asset.
The Farmers’ Contribution
The President acknowledged the tireless efforts of Indian farmers in conserving local plant varieties, taming wild plants, and nurturing traditional variants. These contributions have served as the foundation for crop breeding programs, thereby ensuring food and nutritional security for both humans and animals.
Agricultural Advancements and Impact on Security
Turning her attention to the advancements in agriculture and technology, President Murmu noted that since 1950-51, India has witnessed significant increases in food grain production, horticulture, fisheries, milk, and egg production. These advancements have had a tangible impact on the nation’s food and nutrition security. She attributed these successes to the collaborative efforts of agro-biodiversity conservers, diligent farmers, dedicated scientists, and policymakers, all supported by the government.
Science and Technology as Protectors of Heritage Knowledge
In closing, President Murmu expressed her confidence in the role of technology and science as effective protectors and enhancers of heritage knowledge. These tools, she believed, would continue to play a crucial role in preserving and expanding the legacy of agricultural excellence in India and around the world.