An of agricultural products so that it can

An Analysis of the
Agrobiodiversity Scenario in India post Green Revolution

Abstract

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For
many years, mankind has lived in an environment supported by various kinds of
organisms- plants, animals, bacteria, etc. It is a cycle where a symbiotic
relationship becomes mandatory to keep the balance in the surroundings.
Therefore, it becomes a responsibility for people to take care of the kind of
environment they live in and it also becomes essential to optimally utilize
these gifts of nature so that no one is found deficient of these commodities.
It also becomes necessary to understand the adverse effects, if over
utilization of these genetic resources takes place. This paper is going to
focus on Access Benefit Sharing Agreements that India has made for protecting
these genetic resources and the measures that have been adopted to regulate
these schemes and clarifying ambiguities that have been laid down in the scheme
of Natural Biodiversity Act with regards to agriculture. The research paper
will also provide an insight to various methods of exploitation of agricultural
products so that it can make the readers introspect whether this kind of
exploitation is necessary under the disguise of ‘development’, or is there a
way to control such activities. It will give a brief on farmers’ rights and
privileges and how they can help without having to exert themselves in yielding
higher returns. It will go further discuss sustainability of plant resources as
they are being highly used for its divided purposes including extraction of
oils and utilization of the seeds of the plant for commercial purposes. To
conclude, it will stress upon the need to preserve this bio diversity people
are living in and why agriculture is one of the first aspects one needs to look
at.

Introduction

In
common parlance, biological diversity or ‘biodiversity’ can be defined as a
given species richness (plants, animals, microorganisms) be it on land, water
or sea. It is significant as it ensures the very stability and health of the
biosphere and contributes to the renewability of air, water and soil with
oxygen, carbon and nitrogen cycles. Thus, it renders free recycling of the
waste in the environment which is why its preservation and conservation becomes
very important.

Agricultural
biodiversity or ‘agrobiodiversity’ encompasses these components of biological
diversity that are of relevance to food and agriculture including plants,
animals and microorganisms. Presently, the excessive application of chemical
inputs in agriculture like fertilizers and pesticides has led to the depletion
of the soil and significantly affected crop pattern and soil sustainability.
There has also been a considerable erosion of agrobiodiversity including that
of genetic resources of plants and animals. The current paper attempts to
analyse this depletion by taking into account the various provisions of the
Biodiversity Conservation Act, 2002 and what the Indian Council of Agricultural
Research has done to secure them. Moreover, it will also try to identify the
lacunae existing in agreements like that of Access Benefit Sharing and devise
on ways to eradicate them.

Green Revolution and its
Impact on Indian Agriculture

Agriculture
plays a vital role in India’s economy. Over 58% of India’s rural households
depend on agriculture as their principal means of livelihood. According to the 2nd
advised estimates by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the share of
agriculture and allied sectors (including agriculture, livestock, forestry and
fishery) has been calculated to be 17.3 per cent of the Gross Value Added (GVA)
during 2016-17 at 2011-12 prices. Hence, it can be said that India’s economy is
predominantly agriculture based and the market of Indian agriculture is
considered to be characterized with huge growth because of its increasing
contribution to world food trade every year due to its immense potential for
value addition. This is evident from the fact that the Indian food and grocery
market is considered to be the world’s sixth largest with retail contributing
to 70% of the sales. In order to maintain and for further growth of this
industry several initiatives have been taken by the government over the years
in the form of policy decisions, land laws and agricultural reforms which have
included steps to modernize and mechanize agricultural practices so that more
output can be achieved with less input. Though not all such initiatives have
been successful, the Green Revolution has been one of the most striking
successes of the sixties in India. Green Revolution was introduced with the
objective of achieving “self sufficiency” in food production and rural
prosperity however it taught the nation some valuable lessons due to excessive
application of chemical inputs like fertilizers and pesticides which affected
the soil system and the environment as well as the eco system. At present there
are a large number of high yielding varieties, hybrids and farm technologies
that are available but at the same time but it must also be kept in mind that
technology transfer should be such that it addresses the issues of “eco
friendly”, “farm-friendly” and “agro biodiversity friendly” so that the local
farmers’ needs are conserved.

India has been blessed with
rich agro biodiversity that includes both agricultural as well as horticultural
crops. A large number of cereals, millets, oilseeds and vegetable varieties
have originated and are cultivated in India making it one of the richest
Centres of Origin of crop and plant diversity in the world. The diversity in
livestock, poultry and fish species in India is also magnificent. The main
problem that needs attention here is that since much of the agro biodiversity
is in the control of traditional farming or tribal communities who follow
age-old and backward agricultural techniques like shifting cultivation or “slash
and burn”, the agricultural scenario requires immediate reforms.

Current Agricultural Scenario and Biodiversity Concern

The Indian Council for
Agricultural Research which is the second largest agricultural research
organization in the world has undertaken serious work for formulation of new
systems and program based approach to conserve the agro biodiversity in the
country. Such effort is required as India as to reorient the previous policies
to tackle the current challenges of meeting increased demand in the food
production industry that has to be done through sustainable utilization.

Such effort witnessed a
shift from the traditional commodity based approach to an approach that is more
need based and demand driven. Recently, the quality of the high yield and
hybrid varieties is being strictly monitored and on farm conservation of genetic
resources and diversified cultivating practices are being promoted to reduce
the negative impact of agriculture on biodiversity. Sustainable agricultural
practices are being introduced even in the grass root levels by promotion of
integrated crop culture and livestock farming, revival of the traditional
watershed management practices, discouraging the excessive use of chemical
fertilizers and popularizing the benefits of bio fertilizers or bio pesticides.
These changes brought about in farming will not only ensure environment
friendly farming but also help in augmenting the income of the farmers.

Farmers’ Privilege and Rights

India is among the first
countries to have passed a legislation granting farmers’ rights in the form of
the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001. The law passed
is significant because it aims to protect both breeders and farmers. The act
not only upholds farmers’ rights to save, use and exchange seeds and
propagating material but also aims to enable farmers to claim specific forms of
property rights over their varieties. Nine rights can be said to have been
given to farmers under the Act including: the right to save, exchange and (to a
limited extent) sell seeds and propagating material, to register varieties, to
recognition and reward of conservation of varieties, to benefit sharing, to
information about expected performance of a variety, compensation for failure
of variety to perform, availability of seeds of registered variety, free
services for registration, conducting tests on varieties, legal claims under
the Act, and protecting from infringement.

This legislation has ensured
that the farmers are able to freely produce their requirement of seeds and also
exchange the seed material with other farmers of the country. As long as the
farmers remains a grain producer and does not form himself into a large scale
commercial seed producer of the protected varieties, his freedom to use farm
seed or exchange seeds with other farmers, is not affected by plant breeders’
right.

Access and Benefit Sharing Agreements

The
word “fair” and “equitable” both means “Just” or unbiased. Fair means having
the qualities of impartiality and honesty and free from prejudice, favoritism
and self-interest. Equitable also means just comfortable to the principles of
justice and right. Fair likewise implies only agreeable to the standards of
equity and right.

The
Biodiversity Act – 2002 basically delivers access to hereditary assets and
related learning by outside people, organizations or organizations, to
guarantee impartial sharing of advantages emerging out of the utilization of
these hereditary assets and related or Traditional learning to the nation and
the general population. Article 3 and 4 in the BD Act, 2002 are the imperative
areas for access of bio resources, conventional learning and also exchange of
research comes about (Technology) on biodiversity of India. To direct the
entrance of biodiversity a three level structure at the national, state also,
neighborhood level is built up under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) manages all issues identifying with
demands for access by remote people, foundations or organizations, and all
issues identifying with exchange of aftereffects of research to any outsider
and endorsement for IPR related bio resources. State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) manages
all issues identifying with access by Indians for business purposes. The Indian
enterprises are required to give earlier insinuation to the concerned SBB about
the utilization of natural asset. The SBBs have the ability to confine any such
movement, which abuses the targets of preservation, economical utilize and
impartial sharing of advantages. The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs)
are set up by the State Biodiversity Boards at neighborhood level in each
Panchayat in their separate territories for protection, supportable utilize,
and documentation of biodiversity and chronicling of learning identifying with
biodiversity in People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR). Any individual alluded to
in sub area (2) of section 3 of the Biodiversity Act, 2002, who expects to
acquire any organic asset happening in India or information related thereto for
explore or for business use or for bio study and bio usage or exchange the
consequences of any exploration identifying with organic assets happening in,
or acquired from, India, should make application to the National Biodiversity
Expert. The NBA and SBBs are required to counsel the concerned BMCs on issues
identified with utilization of natural assets and related learning inside their
locale. Additionally, to check bio theft, the Biodiversity Act, 2002 gives that
entrance to organic assets and related information is liable to terms and
condition.

The
National Biodiversity Authority while allowing endorsements under Section 19
and 20 guarantees that the terms and conditions subject to which endorsement is
conceded secures impartial sharing of advantages emerging out of the
utilization of got to natural assets, their side-effects, developments and
practices related with their utilization and applications and learning relating
thereto as per commonly concurred terms what’s more, conditions between the
individual applying for such endorsement, nearby bodies concerned furthermore,
the advantage claimers. Reasonable and impartial offer of advantage is
administered by section 21 of BD Act, 2002 and Rule 20 of Biological Diversity
Rules, 2004 on case by case premise. The offer of advantage sharing out of the
utilization of bio resources might be chosen by NBA in discussion with the
neighborhood bodies. The advantage claimers are conservers of natural assets,
makers and holders of learning and data identifying with the employments of
natural assets. While allowing endorsements, NBA will force conditions, for
securing fair offer in the advantages emerging out of the utilization of
organic assets happening in India or learning identifying with them. These
advantages incorporate fiscal picks up, concede of joint responsibility for
property rights, exchange of innovation, relationship of Indian researchers in
innovative work, setting up of investment subsidize and so on. Through warning
of rules from NBA, regularly exchanged items are exempted from the domain of
the BD Act 2002 and exclusion for cooperative research government supported or
government affirmed foundations subject to general strategy rules and
endorsement of the Central Government. The approach rules have been created by
National Biodiversity Authority and as of late informed by the Central
Government for undertaking community oriented research with a consent to share
the advantage emerging out of the organic assets. Rich harvest landraces and
customary ranchers’ assortments are predominant in a few pockets and regions.
These constitute a precious supply of qualities that are required by plant
reproducers for improvement of predominant yield assortments. In any case, the
assorted variety is being lost from the “regular” environments
because of the developments of horticultural generation to boondocks regions
and furthermore from the horticultural fields because of the selection of made
strides assortments and other innovation by the ranchers. Thus, logical
administration of these precious assets have expected more prominent hugeness
after some time. Additionally, the wild species furthermore, relatives of yield
plants contain important qualities that are of enormous incentive as hereditary
asset for additionally use in edit rearing projects. These assets are probably
going to play a special part in the improvement of new cultivars and
furthermore in rebuilding the current ones which need either trait. The most
vital legacy factor acquired from the wild has been that for disease(s) or
pest(s) protection or dry season resilience.

Conclusion

The
natural habitat of plants, animals and microorganisms become essential for
their ultimate survival. Keeping that in mind, the basic crop varieties need to
be protected for the final consumption and development. But this diversity is
being lost from the “natural” habitats due to the expansion of agricultural
production to frontier areas and also from the agricultural fields due to the
adoption of improved varieties and other technology by farmers. In this
scenario, it becomes increasingly important to preserve these resources for
future generations.

 

 

References:

1.      The
Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and Biological Diversity Rules, 2004. National Biodiversity
Authority, 2004, Chennai

2.      Khoshoo,
T.N. 1995. Biodiversity, Bioproductivity and Biotechnology. In: Farmers Rights
and Plant Genetic Resources – Recognition and Rewards: A dialogue (ed) M.S.
Swaminathan, Mac Millan India Ltd. pp.156 – 159.

3.      Swaminathan,
M.S 1992. Biodiversity and Biotechnology. In: Biodiversity implication on
global food security (ed.) M.S.Swaminathan and S.Jena Macmillan Publication,
Madras. pp.326

4.      Paroda,
R.S., Mangala Rai and P.L. Gautam. 1999. National Action Plan on Agrobiodiversity
in India. Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, p. 55

5.      http://www.farmersrights.org/state/countries_india.html

 

 

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