Ashok Dalwai, CEO of National Rainfed Authority, has stressed on the need to conserve biodiversity and plant gene pool to address the problem of malnutrition. He was speaking at a national conference on ‘biodiversity and plant genetic resource conservation for future’ at the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences(UAHS), Shivamogga, on Friday.
Mr. Dalwai said that though the green revolution had helped the nation become self-sufficient in food production, malnutrition still persists.
During the green revolution, the emphasis was on enhancing the production of cereals owing to which areas cultivating pulses and millet, which are rich sources of nutrients and fibre, have declined.
India is home to a large variety of fauna and flora. Apart from promoting the cultivation and consumption of millet and pulses, it is necessary to tap the other sources of nutrients from the vast plant gene pool of the nation, he said.
Regretting that the unabated destruction of forest in the name of development has posed a threat to biodiversity and to the plant gene pool, he said that, apart from enacting strict laws to conserve the biodiversity, it is necessary to involve local communities in the conservation endeavours.
The knowledge of the tribal communities on biodiversity needs to be documented. Biodiversity Management Committees need to be formed at all the gram panchayats as per The Biological Diversity Act, 2002, he added.
Regretting that agricultural produce in India was not getting a remunerative price owing to the demand-supply mismatch, he said that, to enhance the income of farmers, agriculture-based industries need to be established. The emergence of biofuel as the main source of energy is likely to bring changes in the fortunes of the farmers, he said.