The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu inaugurated first ‘Global Symposium on Farmers’ Rights’ (GSFR) today, in a ceremony held at ICAR Convention Centre, National Agricultural Science Centre, New Delhi. President Murmu conferred the ‘Plant Genome Saviour Communities’ Award (6) and ‘Plant Genome Saviour Farmers Reward’ (16) and ‘Plant Genome Saviour Farmers Recognition’ (4) awards to the invited Indian farmers. These awards are instituted by the PPVFR Authority as per the provisions of the PPVFR Act, 2001. She also inaugurated the newly constructed ‘Plant Authority Bhawan’, the office of the PPVFR Authority, and an online plant variety ‘Registration Portal’. Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, MoS Shri Kailash Chaudhury and Secretary, Shri Manoj Ahuja were also present on the occasion.
In her address, Smt Droupadi Murmu congratulated organizers FAO and the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (the Treaty) for appropriately choosing India as the country to host the prestigious meeting, given its rich agricultural, cultural and ethnic diversity. She welcomed the delegates in the land of “Vasudhaiv Kutumabakam” (world is one family), a philosophy deeply ingrained in India’s culture and traditions. She said that farmers have toiled and enterprisingly developed or conserved landraces, wild-relatives and traditional varieties of crops, and provided the building blocks for the modern crop breeding programs, thus ensuring food and nutritional security for human beings and live-stocks alike. She said that holding of GFSR was very appropriate, as farmers are primary food producers (‘annadatta’) and only if there is food then there is body, and if there is body then any work gets done. That is why farmers need to be saluted and it is our duty to protect their rights and future.
Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar while welcoming the President of India, expressed his happiness that the GFSR proposed by the GoI during the Ninth Session of Governing Body of the FAO’s International Treaty held in New Delhi (during September 17 to 24, 2022), has been ably organized by the Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) in collaboration with Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority and in partnership with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), and ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR). He said that agricultural biodiversity conservation is not just a duty but a vital necessity for the survival of ecosystems. The rich agricultural heritage of our country has flourished due to the efforts of our farmers, who have carefully nurtured and developed numerous plant varieties. He said that these varieties of plants are not only a source of livelihood but also a living testimony of the deep connection between nature and culture.
Secretary, DA&FW, Shri Manoj Ahuja informed that India has been the first country in the world to include Farmers’ Rights in the context of Plant Variety Registration through its Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act, 2001. Chairperson, PPVFR Authority, Dr T. Mohapatra delivered the welcome address and apprised about the genesis and expectations of the GFSR.
Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary (DARE) & Director General (ICAR), Dr R.S. Paroda, Chairman, Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS) and former Secretary, DARE & DG, ICAR, Mr Kent Nnadozie, Secretary, ITPGRFA and Mr Takayuki Hagiwara, FAO Representative in India, were also present on the occasion.
India is hosting the GFSR from September 12 to 15, 2023, that is being attended by more than 700 delegates from 59 countries. including the National Focal Points of the International Treaty, farmer bodies from around the world, policy makers, scientists, research scholars, industry representatives, government officers, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, legal experts and civil society. This first of its kind symposium aims to facilitate implementation of Farmers’ Rights by Contracting Parties of the Treaty through discussions on innovative approaches, effective policies, best practices, knowledge, and experience sharing in implementing Farmers’ Rights. The Global Symposium would also provide a platform to promote recognition of farmers as conservers of agrobiodiversity and guardians of global food security.