RANWA narrative report on
utilization of Maharashtra Gene Bank small grant
Funding agency : Rajiv Gandhi
Science and Technology Commission of Govt. of
A) Preparation of training material
on Peoples Biodiversity Registers
RANWA is associated with PBR
concept since 1994. In the MGB project quite many sub
projects, especially those involving local communities,
PBR will be an overarching activity. It would facilitate
documentation of biodiversity and later management of
the focal biodiversity element. In this context RANWA
carried out a preparatory activity of preparing training
material on Peoples Biodiversity Register. Following
activities have been accomplished in the small grant
provided by ARI as a part of MGB planning phase.
Computerisation of earlier PBRs
More than 100 PBRs have been
prepared in India starting from 1994. Majority of them
were prepared as a part of WWF funded Biodiversity
Conservation Priortisation Project conducted in 1997-99.
All these PBRs were in printed format. Scanned copies of
these PBRs were available. However it was realized that
soft copy in commonly shared MS Word format would be
helpful for further analysis and research. For this a
DTP operator was employed and all PBRs in printed format
were computerized. Now they are available on a single
Power point presentations
RANWA conducted a training
programme on PBR in January 2009 for Ahmednagar based
WOTR, a CSO working in water shed development. RANWA
volunteers prepared presentations for this programme.
These presentations elaborate on (1)international,
national and local context of PBRs, (2) PBR as local
biodiversity documentation tool and, (3) PBR as local
level biodiversity management tool. These presentations
were prepared in English. These presentation will be
translated in to Marathi and will become baseline of the
Two village training programmes
were conducted by RANWA on PBR preparation. One of these
traing programme was conducted in two project villages
of Krishi Vidyan Kendra, Nandurbar. Objective of this
training programme was to equip KVK staff in using PBR
as a biodiversity documentation and subsequently
management tool. A practial was conducted on the final
day of this two day train programme. During the
practical PBR methodology was used by the field staff of
KVK to document and develop management plan for Moha (Madhuca
latifolia) trees in the project village.
A training programme for village
volunteers of WAYAM, a CSO working in Jawhar taluka of
Thane district was conducted in May 2009. The entire
workshop is video documented. This will help explain
addressing participants queries, developing check lists
of bioresources and documenting important biodiversity
issue in the village. These live video clips will be
useful help in the training CD.
Interview with PBR practitioners
In June 2009 field work was carried
out in Washim district to interview Phase Pardhi
volunteers of Samvedana, a CSO in Washim district.
Samvedana has effectively used PBR as planning and
management tool since 2001. We have interviewed Phase
Pardhi community members instrumental in raising nursery
and protecting a few hectres of grass land for future
use. These members unequivocally shared that used PBR
methodology to develop management plan and selection of
plantation species. These interviews will be useful aid
in the training programmes.
Field visit to Basudha, a field
station of Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, Kolkata
Two RANWA volunteers visited
Basudha, a field station of Centre for Interdisciplinary
Studies, Kolkata. Basudha hosts Vrihi, a live gene bank
of 650 rice varieties and 100 varieties of other
cereals. It is run by Dr. Debal Deb and his colleagues.
Basudha is located in a small village Binod Badi near
Durgapur in north 24 parganas district of West Bengal.
RANWA volunteers accompanied Debal and his colleagues in
planning for cultivation of rice varieties in Kharif
2009. Dr. Debal Deb explained the way these varieties
are documented and stored. This visit was certainly a
realization of neatness and meticulousness needed for
documentation crop germplasm. Photo documentation of
this visit will contribute to the PBR training CD.
A CD as an aid to conduct PBR
training spread over year, with quarterly contact
The training CD preparation is
under process. Various resources will be pooled and will
be used to develop the training aid. Salient points of
the PBR training are: (1) skeleton of the training
program – We envisage a year long programme.
Participants will meet at some common place for example
field station of the host organisation every three
months. (2) Target audience of the training CD is
primarily CSO staff and volunteers (3) In the first
contact session introduction to PBR, identification of
pecularities of Biodiversity in particinats work area
will be covered. The first contact session will conclude
with some exercises to be accomplished by the
participants (4) In the second contact session
participants will come prepared with the exercises. They
will have identified priority topics in biodiversity
management in there are. Detail deliberation will be
done on these identified topic in the second session/ It
will conclude with draft action plan to address the
topic so identified by each participant (5) Third
contact session will be on feed back from the
participants (6) Fourth and last contact session will
wrap up and document learning of participants.
The CD will have video clips, audio
clips, interviews, photos, graphics, maps etc to make
the training interactive. We have collected all
resources. CD preparation in HTML format is under
Free downloadable material on RANWA
RANWA collection on PBRs – training
material, soft copy of PBRs in India, methodology manual
in English, Marathi books on PBR etc will be made
available on RANWA website for free downloading. The
website is under renewal.
B) Process documentation of (first
ever effort of) registration of farmer’s varieties as if
a lay farmer would file the application
Registration of FV flagged in MGB
A draft concept note of proposed
Maharashtra Gene Bank Project flagged National Gene
Fund. Prof. Gadgil had prepared this note. It was later
refined after two stakeholder consultations and widely
circulated. The note mentioned that CGR theme of the
project would link up with National Gene Fund created as
a provision of the PPVFRA. In the concept note it was
also suggested that CGR theme collaborators of MGB would
take up registration of farmers varieties as an activity
under the theme.
Steering committee meeting
First draft of MGB proposal was
ready for the perusal of the steering committee in
December 2008. It was sent to the steering committee
members for the comments. The committee met in January
2009 at Pune. Prof. Arunachalam and Dr. Bala Ravi shared
their comments and suggestion elaborately. Both of them
suggested giving priority to on farm conservation over
market linkage and organic farming. In the draft
proposal these three – on farm conservation of
varieties, organic farming and market linkage for
sustainability of the project – were equally weighed.
Dr. Bala Ravi suggested MGB-CGR participants share
revised draft in March 2009.
Proposal revision and meeting with
According to suggestions of Dr.
Bala Ravi and Prof. Arunachalam the draft was revised.
In March 2009 two members of MGB-CGR met Dr. Bala Ravi
and Prof. Arunachalam at MSSRF Chennai. Detail
discussion on the revised draft resulted in finalizing
In the course of proposal revision
a meeting of MGB-CGR group with subject experts was
conducted. Dr. Debal Deb of Centre for Interdisciplinary
Studies, Kolkata and Dr. Sanjeev Saxena, Senior
Scientist, IPR Division, ICAR guided the participants.
Dr. Sanjeev Saxena explained that. As a result of this
meeting MGB-CGR participants became aware of, (1)
registration of farmers variety is time bound (2) the
authority has notified certain crops for which it is
accepting the applications (3) the authority has
published guidelines for these crops. Dr. Debal Deb
explained salient points of on farm conservation of crop
germplasm and importance of seed purity.
Twp MGB-CGR members subsequently
met Dr. BAla Ravi and Prof. Arunachalam as mentioned
earlier. In this meeting farmer’s variety registration
was discussed. The experts suggested prior to filing the
registration application, description of the candidate
variety should be developed. For this Dr. Bala Ravi
suggested using formats developed by Bioversity
International. These formats are available on the
website. These formats are good aid because line
drawings and dichotomous key for describing the variety
First meeting of CGR-MGB
participants in the context of farmer’s variety
registration. In June 2009, all participants of MGB-CGR
group met at IIRD, Bidkin. MGB planning phase spared a
small grant to facilitate registration of farmer’s
varieties on experimental basis.
In this meeting pre lunch session
was devoted to understanding registration process. Later
participants shared description of some farmer’s
varieties from their areas. Post lunch session was on
developing line of action for registration of some
farmers varieties on experimental basis. Major
discussion points were: description of the variety,
institutional structure for filing the application and
field level follow up MGB-CGR group found that PPVFRA
did not have specified form for describing farmers
varieties unlike breeders (read commercial) variety. The
group decided to use form number 22 in the People’s
Biodiversity Register Methodology Manual. For this Prof.
Gadgil and Dr. Bala Ravi were consulted. Prof. Gadgil
shared that form number 22 of Peoples Biodiversity
Register Methodology Manual was primarily contribution
of Dr. Sanjeev Saxena.
In case of institutional structure
initially common interest group of farmers cultivating
the candidate variety was thought to be suitable.
In the Chennai meeting Dr. Bala
Ravi had shared that NGOs helping farmers in filing
registration needed to be authorized. For this, he had
explained there was PV1 form provided by the act.
The meeting of CGR-MGB
collaborators concluded with: a tentative list of
candidate varieties and time line for developing detail
description, set up institutional structure and filing
the application with the authority.
Field level follow up – July,
August, September and October 2009
A meeting with farmers cultivating
Vandi variety of Sorghum was conducted at Atpadi. This
was followed by a meeting with Gidghap, a variety of
Sorghum, cultivaors in Vita taluka of Sangli district.
In these meetings farmers were explained objective of
PPVFRA. They were appealed to participate in the farmers
variety registration experiment. Following points were
explained to them: (1)Farmers variety registration does
need any fee, (2)in case of benefit sharing, the
monetary benefit will be deposited in the National Gene
Fund which later will be directed to the community,
(3)the cultivator community needs to authorize the NGO
in case the NGO filing application on behalf of the
community. However benefit sharing, if at all it comes
through, would be in the name of the community.
Each meeting was attended by 20
farmers. Vandi Samvardhak Sangh and Gidghap Samvardhak
Sangh were established. Both the Common Interest Groups
developed rules and regulations. A meeting was conducted
on the similar lines with Kalbhat, a rice variety,
cultivators. Kalbhat is an aromatic variety of hilly
area of Akole taluka of Ahmednagar district. This
meeting was convened at Sangamner.
A field visit to Deothan village in
Sangamner taluka was conducted. A pearl millet variety
named Deothan Bajri is in existence. Presently it is
cultivated by a single farmer in the village. Randomly
we enquired with the villagers about the variety and its
availability. Everyone mentioned no one, except that
specific farmer, was cultivating the variety.
After three field visits we
realized limitation of the Common Interest Group in the
context of registration of farmers variety. Discussion
with Mohan Hirabai Hiralal of Vrikshamitra, Chandrapur
and Prof. Gadgil was important in this context. We gave
afresh thought to biodiversity management committee
being institutional structure. Following points were
crystallized: (1) there are very few committed farmers
in any given village that are into conservation of
traditional varieties (2) None of these farmers is aware
of PPVFRA and positive provisions in it (3) a BMC would
have cross boundary dimension. This means in Maharashtra
basic administrative unit is gram panchayat. A gram
panchayat is set up on the basis of certain population.
This has practical implication. Each natural village as
understood by the local people may or may not have
independent gram panchayat. There are group
grampanchayts formed out of clubbing two three natural
villages. Cross boundary dimension pertains to spread of
a particular variety over more than one village. In case
of traditional varieties one cannot ascribe just one
village as the village practicing the variety. A BMC is
formed as suggested in the BDA at the level of local
body. That means at the gram panchayat level. This
necessitates each village setting up BMC and passing a
resolution of filing the application for a single
variety. (4)A BMC applying for registration means the
credit of conservation and registration of the variety
would be shared among all villagers. This could prove to
be a disincentive for those actually conserving the
variety out of sheer enthusiasm and interest. (5) to
over come practical difficulty mentioned in the earlier
point, MGB-CGR group developed a model BMC resolution.
This resolution specifically mentioned individual
farmers cultivating the variety. In the same resolution
NGO helping the community was authorized to file the
case on behalf of the community. (6)There is hardly any
BMC set up at village level in Maharashtra. (7)BMC being
a constitutional body as provided in the BDA does need
any registration unlike CIG which would need
registration in case of legal matter.
In August 2009 MGB CGR
representative attended a meeting a Bangalore. This
meeting was chaired by Dr. Nagarajan, Chairman of PPVFRA
Authority. Entire registration effort and proposed work
of MGB-CGR group was shared in the meeting. Responding
to a query on time limit for variety registration, Dr.
Nagarajan mentioned that authority would take note of a
common application moved by CSOs to extend the time
limit and may perhaps allow the extension. However as of
that time, he said farmers varieties also being extant
varieties would have to comply with the last date. In a
question related to DUS as applicable to farmers’
variety, Dr Nagarajan said these criteria have been
relaxed in case of farmers variety. He appreciated MGB
effort and appealed to the participants from other
states to initiate conservation project on the lines of
Bangalore visit was followed by a
field visit to Shekta village in Paithan taluka and
Parla village of Vaijapur taluka of Aurangabad district.
Shekta villagers shared that they would file the
application for Maldandi Sorghum. Parla villagers have
decided to file for a pearl millet variety. Another
field visit to Bhandara district resulted in two
villages resolving to file registration application for
rice varieties. Continuous communication with KVK
Nandurbar resulted in initiative to file two Peagon Pea
varieties for registration.
In August, MGB-CGR got an
opportunity to attend a meeting at MSSRF Chennai. This
meeting was attended by Chairman of PPVFRA as well as
Chairman of NBA. MGB-CGR work was presented in this
meeting. Discussion ensued after presentation shed light
on lack of (1) mass scale awareness generation on the
act (2) text of the act available in local language (3)
documentation of any precedent of farmers variety
registration (4) guidelines for filing the application –
description, institutional structure in particular.
Filing the application-November
As a result of the combined effort
of MGB-CGR group following has been achieved.
KVK, Nandurbar – two Peagon Pea
Lokpanchayat, Sangamner – Deothan Pearl millet and
Kalbhat, a rice variety
Lokparyay, Aurangabad – a variety of pearl millet
IIRD, Aurangabad – a variety- Maldandi- of Sorghum
Gramin Yuva Pragatik Mandal, Bhandara – two rice
The application of each of these
varieties consists of a covering letter in Hindi,
description of the candidate variety in Marathi– filled
in form number 22 of Peoples Biodiversity Register
methodology manual, resolution of gram panchayat of
setting up biodiversity management committee, in Marathi
and resolution of the BMC to file the registration and
authorizing the NGO in Marathi. Our stand on doing
entire application in Marathi and Hindi is the community
should know entire deliberation.
We tried to locate Hindi PV1 form
for NGO authorization. We did not get it. Therefore none
of the applications, except KVK Nandurbar have filled in
PV1 form. Each application is separately sent by speed
post to the authority.
During the entire exercise we
assumed that 30 November 2009 is the last date of
application. MGB-CGR planned entire activities based on
this date. However on 22 November we came across an
advertisement from PPVFR authority mentioning last date
as 1 November. Dr. Sanjeev Saxena kindly scanned and
passed on this advertisement by email 22 November 2009.
Conservation and Promotion of
Endangered Medicinal Plant Species from Western Ghats of
Western Ghats of India is one of
the 34 globally recognized biodiversity hotspots known
for its rich diversity of medicinal plant species.
Several plant species are becoming globally important
due to newfound curative properties. They yield high
value metabolites and are threatened globally and
endemic to Western Ghats. Unsustainable harvesting in
large volumes by forest contractors through local
tribals was found to be one of the reasons for its
depletion. Reducing harvest pressure on wild population
of ‘red list’ species and promoting viable commercial
cultivation with the community and government
participation is a huge challenge. The present project
involves local collectors in conservation, training them
in raising quality planting stock and mass propagation /
Ecological Assessment of the
Mutha River Front and The Rivulet at The Proposed Nanded
Funding agency : Nanded City
RANWA was assigned to do the
ecological survey of the (a) the Mutha right bank (the
river front of the proposed Nanded City) and (b) the
Nanded rivulet (odha) by the concerned developers.
The survey encompasses following
1. To identify existing and potential green habitats
including geomorphic features of interest.
2. To make floristic inventory that includes unique,
endemic and invasive elements.
3. To make faunal inventory covering mainly birds,
butterflies, fish and mammals.
4. To assess the water quality.
5. To identify eco-sensitive habitats, zones, species.
Plants and their Uses: Botany of
Funding agency : National
Geographic Society, US
Supported by National Geographic
Society, US the current project looks into the
floristically under explored areas of Maharashtra and
BRT & SRF sanctuaries of Karnataka. Documenting
ethnbotanical knowledge of the local community forms an
integral component of the project.
1. Vascular plant inventory and
comprehensive checklist of the some of the lesser known
forests of northern Western Ghats
2. Collecting information on the ethno botanical uses of
plants by local people
Area covered :
Protected Area -Bheemashankar WLS,
Non protected are - Amba ghat, Amboli, Tillari
Wild Edible Plants :
Documentation and Assessment of Nutritional Quality
Funding Agency : ATREE
Duration : Aug 2006 – July 2007
Present study documents the
diversity, nutritional qualities and traditional recipes
of Wild Edible Plants from Maval taluk, northern Western
Ghats of Maharashtra. Information has been documented
and compiled in the form of a field guide which includes
(i) season of occurrence, (ii) edible plant part, (iii)
time and method of collection, (iv) storage techniques,
(v) cultural and nutritional importance, (vi) processing
and recepies, (vii) associated folk medicinal
properties, and (viii) whether harvested for commercial
purpose and sold in the market.
Recovery and domestication of
endangered Nothapodytes nimmoniana (Grah.) Mabb. through
Funding Agency - Rufford Maurice
Laing Foundation, UK
Nothapodytes nimmoniana (Syn.
Mappia foetida, vern. Narkya) is an endangered medicinal
tree from Western Ghats of India, a global biodiversity
hot-spot. It is the most convenient source for
large-scale production of camptothecin (CPT) which is
used in the treatment of cancer and HIV-I. Because of
destructive harvesting, habitat loss, the population of
this species has declined 50-80%. In view of the
mounting demand and perceived threat to the native
populations, it is highly essential to develop an
appropriate strategy (mass cultivation) for its
a) Transferring the standardized
technology to mass propagate the species.
b) Developing protocols for a sustained and managed
utilization of the wild pool.
Accomplished / Results :
Field Setup :
1. Nursery at 2 places in Pune District
2. Plantation activity at different places
Mapping and Quantitative
Assessment of Geographic Distribution and the Population
Status of Plant Resources of Western Ghats
Funding Agency - Department of
Biotechnology through UAS, Bangalore
Supported by Department of
Biotechnology (DBT), Govt. of India, current case study
generates a high-resolution data on woody species
diversity at 6.25 km X 6.25 km scale over an entire
Western Ghats eco-region level. Plant resources have
been intensively sampled from northern Western Ghats.
Masters' students of Biodiversity (Abasaheb Garware
College, Pune) are involved in the data generation
whereas RANWA provides technical expertise.
Districts : Pune, Satara
Completed grids: 240 out of 300 grids