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Ongoing Research   Ongoing Research
Focus Group: Natural Resources and Environment
Natural Resources and Environment

Research Theme
Agro-biodiversity Conservation

Study Title
Conservation of Agrobiodiversity in Great Himalayan National Park

Recent introduction of high yielding variety (HYV) of food and fruit crops in Himachal Pradesh has subsequently diverted the farming systems from mixed crop cultivation to mono-crop cultivation leading to the loss of agro-biodiversity. The foremost reason of erosion in agro-biodiversity in the mountains is due to: (a) changing attitude of farmers towards fine grains, (b) supply of HVY seeds and other inputs at subsidized cost by the government, (c) attraction to maximize profits through cash crop monocultures, and (d) lack of market for produce of traditional crops. If there is little market available for traditional crops, the prices offered are unattractive to the farmers. The acreage under traditional crops has declined substantially in the last two decades. Loss of genetic diversity coupled with inequity in the society rapidly imperils the native landraces and overall sustainability of the agriculture systems in Western Himalayas. When any species or cultivar is lost the centuries old traditional knowledge about the same also disappears. It disbalances the mountain agro-ecosystem and sustainability. Western Himalayan zone of Himachal Pradesh is characterized with fragile ecosystems in which the biodiversity is critical component. When the wild biodiversity is relatively protected and preserved by creation of national parks and sanctuaries, the agro-biodiversity is left on the mercy of farmers who are in fact prone to changing economic and social environments. Insensitivity of Department of Agriculture and gross neglect by Himachal Government are impelling the rich diversity of the crops and the agro-technologies the traditional farmers practice to wipe out. This is causing incalculable harm to the local agro-ecosystems and the sustainability of farming systems. It is in the above context the conservation of agro-biodiversity and attainment of sustainability of agriculture needs urgent attention.
The focus of the action research includes:
  • Mapping of agro-biodiversity and screening of varieties/ cultivars of traditional crops
  • Characterization and documentation of in situ agro-biodiversity
  • Documentation of indigenous wisdom of farmers to characterize the traits of cultivars/varieties
  • Identification of methods of post-harvest, extension, value-addition, processing and market linkages.
The project is currently operational in Kullu district with future possibility of extension in Mandi, Kangra and Chamba districts of Himachal Pradesh. 

Study Coordinators
Dr. Hasrat Arjjumend (Grassroots Institute)
Mr. Chuni Lal (Grassroots Institute)

Call for Support and Partnership
Interested potential support agencies, governments, research organizations and universities are welcome to support and partner the research and documentation targeting mountain ranges.

Outcome of the Research
The findings of the study are made available as and when put in public domain in the various forms. Please also keep on checking our Publications section.