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“A grass root level Awareness programme on Agri-biodiversity Conservation and Biodiversity Fair was organized by the ICAR-NBPGR Regional Station, Hyderabad in collaboration with Sri Konda Laxman Horticultural University, at Fruit Research Station, SKLTSHU, Sangareddy, Telangana on 14.03.2024, The programme was organized under Tribal Sub Plan to bring in awareness to the tribal farmers regarding the need and necessity of conservation of Plant genetic resources particularly Agri-biodiversity, keeping in view the erosion of agri-biodiversity especially in the tribal areas. One hundred (100) tribal farmers, belonging to Lambada (Sugalis) tribal community of Hanuman nagar village and other tribal hamlets of Sangareddy. Dr. G. Venkateshwarlu, Joint-Director, ICAR-NAARM, Hyderabad inaugurated the agri-biodiversity exhibition. Seed diversity in paddy and other cereals, sorghum and other millets, pulses, oilseeds, and underutilized legumes along with posters in vernacular language were displayed for the benefit of the participants. The Programme began with ICAR invocation song, followed by lighting of lamp by the dignitaries. Dr V Suchitra, Head, FRS, Sangareddy welcomed the gathering and gave an account on horticultural crop genetic resources. In her address she expressed her gratitude to ICAR-NBPGR for bringing in awareness to those farmers, particularly of the tribal and rural communities on agri-biodiversity. Dr K Anitha, Principal Scientist, RS, Hyderabad presented an over view of the programme and role of NBPGR in conserving the PGR wealth of the nation. She also, thanked SKLTSHU for collaborating for the TSP event, second time.

Dr N. Sivaraj, Officer-in-Charge, RS, Hyderabad briefly narrated the importance of PGR conservation. He said that the PGR provide the foundation for food security, nutrition, and livelihoods for millions of people worldwide. Dr. M. Srinivasrao, Managing Director, Deccan Exotics, Farmer Producing Company Limited, Hyderabad gave an account on role of Deccan FPO and exotic fruit genetic resources. Telangana State Department of Agriculture and Telangana State Horticultural Department Officials (Smt Padma, Shri Sridhar, Prasad, Officer on Special duty and Mandal Agricultural Officer) spoke during the occasion and stressed the need for traditional crops diversity and its importance in nutritional security of communities. Mr. Mohan Singh, former sarpanch, Hanuman nagar village and Shri Roop Singh, Village Secretary are also graced the programme and thanked NBPGR for selecting the tribal village for benefit delivery under TSP. A tribal farmer also shared his experience on the crop cultivation during the session Dr. G. Venkateshwarlu, Joint-Director, ICAR-NAARM, emphasized the need to conserve traditional crop diversity and culture associated with it. He congratulated NBPGR and SKLTSHU for joining hands to conduct the TSP programme.

He insisted that developing new crop varieties using the vast diversity which exists in the past is worthy and stated loss of PGR wealth is irreparable. He has also released a document on consultancy project report and formally handed over to Deccan FPO. To promote sorghum cultivation and nutritional security among tribal farmers, a kit each consisting of one tarpaulin, sorghum-3 Kg; crates were supplied to 100 identified tribal beneficiaries. In order to promote, horticultural crop cultivation, a kitchen garden kit (more than 12 different horticultural crops), and fruit crop saplings (Guava and Custard apple) were distributed to 100 selected farmers who were identified as beneficiaries.

Dr. L. Saravanan, Senior Scientist and Coordinator of TSP programme delivered the vote of thanks to all those who have contributed to the success of the programme and the programme ended with National Anthem.

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