BBIIOODDIIVVEERRSSIITTYY AANNDD AAGGRRIICCUULLTTUURREE IINN
TTHHEE CCOONNTTEEXXTT OOFF FFOOOODD SSEECCUURRIITTYY
- Dr. P. V. Sateesh, Director, Deccan Development Society, Andhra Pradesh. 27-7-2005
It is interesting to discuss on the children. I would like to link with feeding them. Since most of
you don’t directly work on agriculture and biodiversity. I don’t like to use the word food
security. Now the word is called food sovereignty. I would like to play a film on agriculture and
biodiversity. Why the farmers like to call biodiversity – it is the term of farmers, poor,
marginalized, women and all. It is not at all an environmental word. The film on agro-
biodiversity will bring you the concepts.
I will bring you the issues of food sovereignty. Uncultivated foods and Farming world.
A film: Bio diversity in Indian Agriculture, Produced by Dr. P. V. Sateesh for the Doordarshan.
The film says that biodiversity is an issue and not concentrated to only few parts of India.
Women have enjoyed a natural leadership in community because they know the knowledge of
seeds, where and how to use them. Even if we sell these women’s knowledge, it will be worth
several thousands of rupees.
About 10 years ago food security was an issue. Both civil society groups and governments have
thought of food security. And also it got translated into livelihood security.
But what made people like us like people
World food summit 1996 Rome, there one realized that, in most of the international discussions
the north makes commitments. By 2010 the food takes care of 400 million what about those
beyond that. During the discussions there came the point that Food trade can be a way for food
security. It means they are making ground for cross national business.
Food trade runs into several billions of dollars. It will send a lot of alarming bells around the
world. The discourse shifted from food security to food sovereignty. The food sovereignty
means everyone has the right to produce food in their own location.
Oil from Iran, if you wont give we will not give food.
Where this food sovereignty should be there at what level. It should be at the level of
community. 65 MT of extra food was there in the godowns in spite of distribution. Still people
have gone hungry, there were starvation deaths. Food must be at the household and
community level. Every community must grow enough and should attain self sufficiency.
We all were used to a variety of foods, we ate our ragi, sajja, korra, jonna etc. Rice was not
our food, the PDS system has forced the rice. It is a highly political act. As the white people in
America have just destroyed all their food crops, they are suffering from diseases as they are
not getting their natural food. The food consumed should be according to my culture. Food
should be grown ecologically. It aslso talks of agriculture stewardship, we have right only for
growing food. It is also against intensive agriculture, machines, every bit of soil etc. In
Switzerland apple orchards are planted as per their requirement, against the natural growth.
We have tsunami – the force of nature as a reaction to the impulsions of man on earth.
Deccan, where I work, this is what the farmers say, we look at a number of parameters for
growing a crop. In rainfed agricultue system water is extremely important, formars look for
crops which need least water. Some of the crops can be stored for years like Korra (fox tail
millets), some of the crops need not be weeded. These are all the parameters. Many of that
has good cooking quality, commercial value and high productivity.
Peasri and minumu (black and green gram), crops like lentils are sown on low lying areas where
there is extra moisture. Little millets like sama and Niger (gaddi nuvulu) they don’t need much
moisture, and very little rains.
What are the determinants – for grow a crop successfully. A small farmer need to look at his
field and grow a variety of crops, maintaining the biodiversity.
Sometimes people say they don’t know what they are doing, because farmers know every little
thing they are doing.
If it is black soils, then they grow – sorghum, chickpea, mustard and if Red soils then the
following crops are grown - pacha Jonna, pigeon pea and hibiscus. They grow crops according
to the type of soils.
If we are growing jowar and red gram, the red gram is a nutrition fixer, the leaf fall and the
nitrogen fixer. So the energy balance sheet is completely balanced in a biodiversity field.
For a farmer most of them does not have cash to buy things from outside. The farmer would
like to grow all the types of crops which they need for their consumption. The kaki muttani
jonna is grown in the field a early maturing crop, which no bird eats them. The farmers call
them akali pantalu (crops of hunger).
All farmers have some animals at home, and no farmer wants to buy fodder. Cow pea, bobarlu,
alasandalu etc. they grow for fodder to animals. They also grow bishops seed (vama) for
commercial selling. Red grams grows up to 4 feet, they use it as fuel food, thatching huts, etc.
Sun hemp is also grown for ropes etc.
Most of the small farmers especially in rain fed areas, they want as much their needs from
Many women said that if I grow a variety of crops, the quantity would be less of diversity, I am
completely assured of food security, nutritional security. Or else my husband would sell all the
crops and I will be vulnerable.
Perike sopu (different types of leaves) in Mysore are available during the rainy season. In
deccan area 156 varieties of those which are also called uncultivated crops are available. If we
harvest this it is everyone’s property no one will quarrel if we harvest. They are highly
nutritious, with high Beta carotin and vitamin A. Very very prolific things.
We are working in semi-arid areas with very low rainfall. Ecological and biodiversity is there.
Much of this happens on the basis of traditional knowledge.
Farmers suicides – many farmers have committed suicides. This as a result of external inputs.
The cotton crop and a biodiversity field the other one appears deserted and the next one give
hope. We have complete control and authority over seeds. Women are center to this kind of
agriculture. Only it is because of green revolution the women have been displaced from this
There had been trampling and fighting for the seeds distributed by the government. Our
farmers need not go there.
It is led by farmers and women.
Our knowledge can feed us.
Q: Govt is giving permission to coca cola company for extraction of water
How many times can we change the govt. Globalisation can never bring good to us.
Q: Any methods for patent
Q: Biodiversity and agriculture is basically for sustainance, can we have surplus to cater to
Q:Cow culture people and pig culture people.
Q:Biodiversity keeping people poor so you are promoting this
Q:Can we produce our own manure and pesticides
Q: Secret of your success with women farmers and small farmers
Q:How can we turn farmers into biodiversity farmers
Q: regarding water would like to know
Q: Prakasham and Nellore Dists – converted into aquaculture and some lands are converted to
tobacco growing areas
Q: Biodiversity includes human beings or not?
Q: husking the traditional crops is a big problem.
If a women conceives 20 times she will be gone completely, similarly on earth which is like a
women, we cannot produce continuously.
We have small millets machines to process small millets. Every millet is 10 times better in all
vitamins, proteins etc.
We can do our agriculture with out any chemical pesticides and fertilizers, we have records to
prove that. In traditional agriculture no cash needs.
We should not worry about pig culture people. We live in two countries India and Bharath, let
us live in Bharath.
Adivasis is a complete transition from one culture to another. This destruction has happened.
Many women have not studied, they have understood the invaluable knowledge.
We need to work at several levels, at policy level etc. We have forced Monsanto and made the
govt. to ban. Commercial farming is only short time return long tern it’s a doom. Food security
is a must.
Biodiversity is a combination of all living things including Human Beings.
Mr. Roy David chaired this session
Transcript by Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy, email@example.com