Agrobiodiversity – Custodian of food and nutrition security: Prof M S Swaminathan
Chennai, May 23, 2016: 22nd May is commemorated every year as the International Day of Biodiversity. This is because of the importance of biodiversity in every aspect of human life and wellbeing. MSSRF has chosen the area of community conservation of agrobiodiversity for special attention. Among the three forms of conservation, viz. In-situ, ex-situ and in-situ on-farm (i.e. community conservation), the last method is particularly valuable in the field of agriculture and health. Cryogenic preservation including the famous Svalbard Genevault helps to preserve for posterity a sample of existing genetic variability in crops and animals. In-situ on-farm conservation on the other hand permits both preservation and evolution through mutation and recombination. The over 1 lakh varieties of rice now occurring in our planet owe their origin to community selection and conservation. Sacred groves have been used to conserve keystone species. On this Biodiversity Day, every local body and inhabitants of diverse ecosystems should develop and implement an integrated conservation and utilization strategy rooted in the principles of in-situ on-farm conservation. I have pointed out in books that the conservation and sustainable equitable use of agrobiodiversity is fundamental to launching an era of biohappiness.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.