A tribal farmer from Madhya Pradesh has been conserving indigenous seeds for nearly four decades. These seeds require less water, are suitable for local climate and terrain, and are cheaper alternatives to hybrid seeds, she says. The adivasi farmer also plans to use her seed bank as an asset to pay off loans.
Since her childhood, Sukhmanti Devi has saved indigenous seeds. “I started conserving seeds when I was only ten-years-old. My parents were also farmers, and they taught me how important indigenous seeds were for a farmer,” Devi, a resident of Chataniha village, Deosar block, Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh told Gaon Connection.
It’s been nearly four decades since 47-year-old Devi began conserving seeds indigenous to her land. And so far, she has conserved more than 40 varieties of seeds. These include makka (maize), dhan (paddy), sawan (barnyard) millets. “I have five to six varieties each of makka, dhan and tilhan (oilseeds). I collect them, use some for cultivation, and store them after harvesting for the new season,” she explained.