Promoting Traditional Agro-Products


The National Gene bank (NGB) at ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (ICAR- NBPGR), New Delhi is currently conserving more than 4.52 lakh accessions of various crops of which over 0.92 lakh accessions are of indigenous/local/traditional varieties and landraces.

ICAR-NBPGR has evaluated 635 designated rice land races from Assam, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for major nutrients. Based on farmer’s preference, local demand and nutritional value of 24 land races from Assam are identified for promotion under a trade name “Native Basket” of these marketing of four land races namely Amona Bao, Kola Joha, Boga Bet Guti, Ronga Bao is already started, similarly two land races from Himachal Pradesh are identified for promotion under trade name “Mountain Grain” and in Chhattisgarh 15 rice land races are promoted through  Indira Gandhi Krishi  Vishvavidalaya (IGKV), Raipur under the brand name “Indira”. Geographical Indicator (GI) is obtained for popular small seed aromatic rice “Jeera Phool” and application for GI is submitted for land race “Nagri Dhrubraj”.

In order to improve the access to good seeds, 23 community seed banks were established at community level involving KVKs and Self Help Groups in remote and tribal areas of the country. A total of 26 community seed banks conserving >4000 native landraces and farmers’ varieties of many food crops have been strengthened and established

ICAR-NBPGR and Biodiversity International are jointly executing  UN Environment implemented project entitled “Mainstreaming Agricultural biodiversity conservation and utilization of the agriculture sector to ensure ecosystem services and reduce vulnerability”in seven states    and Union Territory of Ladakh, to make communities more resilient to climate variation by growing   more variety of crops .Under the project,  More than 25,000 farmers across four agro-ecoregions covering 120,000 ha in India   maintain and use   20 crops including rice  of traditional local varieties, many of which were lost or got degenerated due to non-cultivation and poor maintenance.

Besides, in the  United Nation- Global  Envoirment  Facility (UNEP-GEF) project, NBPGR, Biodiversity International and other institutes are also executing “Seeds for Needs” project using crowd sourcing (CS) and Participatory Varietal Selection trials (PVS) approaches to look for the “best set” of traditional varieties of wheat and rice farmers across 4 states (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, UP and MP). So far, set of selected varieties of wheat (44) and rice (34) were promoted with 15000 and 7000 wheat and rice farmers, respectively.

Government has also been promoting traditional ways of crop cultivation through dedicated schemes of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) and Mission Organic Value Chain Development in North East Region (MOVCDNER). In addition , Organic cultivation on either side of River Ganga, natural farming, large area certification and support for individual farmers have also been introduced under PKVY to increase organic coverage using organic/ bio inputs for  production of organicproducts.                                                                                                                                     

Details of crop-wise indigenous landraces/ traditional cultivars

Crop group Landraces/ Traditional Cultivars Local/ Varieties Conserved In the NGB (no. of accessions)
Agro forestry 349
Cereals 19742
Fiber 308
Forages 1571
Fruits & Nuts 11
Grain legumes 11330
Medicinal & Aromatic plants 1172
Millets 16675
Oilseeds 31771
Ornamental 18
Pseudo cereals 1747
Spices Condiments and Flavour 1274
Vegetables 6710
Grand Total 92678


This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar in Rajya Sabha today.