Punita Bai Uyke, a tribal farmer from village Sawarjhodi in the Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh, remembers her grandmother collecting and preserving seeds of vegetables and various varieties of paddy for the next crop season. Her grandparents never invested a rupee in buying them from the market as they had their own little seed bank at home. The dried seeds stored in earthen pots saved money and provided them independence from the market.
But by the time Punita’s parents began farming, hybrid varieties of seeds had flooded their village. So after a few years, her mother stopped preserving seeds, buying them from the market instead. Initially, the crops were good but soon, they began to develop diseases that required chemical sprays. That meant costs kept going up, impoverishing the family.