GUWAHATI, Dec 17 - The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers� Rights Authority (PPV & FRA) has received 1,312 applications from the North East for registration of various traditional varieties of crops and plants. Of them, 400 are from Assam.
According to PPV & FRA Registrar Dr Ravi Prakash, around 15,000 applications have been received from across the country and 3,000 have been accepted so far and soon will be registered in the names of the farmers and various companies.
Addressing a regional workshop on �Farmers Rights and Agro-Biodiversity Exhibition� organised by the PPV&FRA in association with Assam Agricultural University at Kahikuchi here, Dr Prakash underlined the need to conserve the traditional varieties of the region in the field of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and fisheries before they become extinct.
PPV & FRA was set up to provide for the establishment of an effective system for protection of plant varieties, rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants. Its objective is to recognise and protect the rights of the farmers in respect of their contribution made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of the new plant varieties.
Dr N Prakash, Director of ICAR (NE region), said that the North East is not only a hotspot in agriculture, but also in horticulture, animal husbandry and fishery. He said that as the climate has been changing, some of the locally available traditional material may be of immense use to meet the challenges of the vagaries of climate change.
Vice Chancellor of Manipur Central Agricultural University Dr M Premjit Singh said that �minor fruits and underutilised vegetables of the region need to be protected as wealth of the region before they are pilfered out of the place of origin without a GI mark.�
Underscoring the need for conservation of varieties which are found in different environments in the region and can contribute to breeding new plant types to withstand the vagaries of changing climate, Dr Rupam Borgohain, Head of Krishi Vikas Kendra (KVK), Jorhat referred to patent rights by citing the example of turmeric, which was once claimed by the USA as their right.
�To avoid such incidents, it is important to act fast to protect ones right as the matter is settled on first-come first-serve basis,� he said.