Ranchi, Aug. 8: Farmers of the region, always in dire need of advice on crops and registering various plant varieties, will now have access to experts in Ranchi now that a branch office of a Delhi-based watchdog body has started functioning from the state capital.
The branch office of Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV&RFA), New Delhi, was jointly inaugurated last week by chairperson of the authority P.L. Gautam, vice chancellor, Birsa Agriculture University, M.P. Pandey and deputy director general (crop science), Indian Council for Agriculture Research, Swapan K, Das.
Located at the Computer Centre Building of Birsa Agricultural University, Ranchi, the authority will serve farmers from the state and region including Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
It has already begun accepting applications from farmers on a range of issues from registration and renewal of traditional crop varieties developed and preserved by them to filing complaints for protection of their rights.
An MoU to this effect was also signed between the authority and BAU officials at BAU Senate Hall in the presence of registrar general of the authority R.C. Agarwal.
Pandey said the Delhi-based authority provided much needed incentives and help on protection of intellectual property rights, development of new varieties of plants having commercial or aesthetic value, development of characterisation and documentation.
India, he added, was the only country in the world that had enacted legislation for protecting farmers’ and plant breeders’ rights.
“The Ranchi office of the authority will help farmers register their traditional varieties, encourage them to conserve genetic resources of plants and catalogue all varieties. It will also provide resource persons to undertake farmers’ training programmes,” the BAU VC pointed out.
In the event of commercially bred seeds failing to give the desired yield or falling disease-pest resistance parameters even under prescribed agronomic conditions, the affected farmer can file a claim for recovery of his losses with the authority.
With opening of an office of the authority in Ranchi the seed industry, located mainly in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Bangalore in Karnataka, is likely to start looking towards Jharkhand for its conducive weather and biodiversity.
The authority will soon start DNA profiling of varieties which will be documented in the International Journal of Plant Genetics so that other nations do not claim patent right on Indian crops or plants.