This farmer has a seed bank at home

Decades ago, millets formed an important traditional crop. They not only gave food security, but also offered multiple securities like fodder and fuel. With the introduction of commercial crops like paddy and wheat, farmers forgot about millets.

“I remember my childhood when we depended only on millets for our meals,” recalls Ishwarappa Banakar of Hire Yadachi village in Haveri district. Later on, Ishwarappa, much like other farmers, took to growing commercial crops. Every time there was a drought or a flood, he incurred losses. But last year, he went to Pune and participated in an organic fair. There, he was exposed to varieties of traditional crops and organic farming methods.
Vijay Zardari, a farmer from the Dehradun region was the centre of attraction at the fair, where he exhibited more than 100 varieties of beans and many types of vegetables of his region. Inspired by Zardari’s efforts on conservation of local seeds, Ishwarappa decided to grow traditional crops. He has set up a millet seed bank in his home. This is the first millet seed bank set up by an individual farmer in the state.

This bank has 25 varieties of jowar, 30 varieties of finger millet, 10 varieties of foxtail millet, five varieties of little millet and one or two varieties of kodo millet, proso millet and pearl millet.

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