4 Jan : Noted agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan has underlined the need for conserving the rich bio-diversity of north-east and called for ushering in an ‘evergreen revolution’ in the region.
"Efforts should be directed at promotion of bio-happiness among tribal families. The NE is one of the 12 mega bio-diversity zones of the world and more than 80 percent of people here depend for their livelihood on agriculture," he said while addressing the 96th Indian Science Congress at the North Eastern Hill University in Shillong on Sunday (4th January).
Noting that the region produced 5.8 million tonne of food-grain against a requirement of 7.4 million tonne, he asked institutes to take up conservation programmes for the rare, endangered and threatened (RET) species of flora.
Observing that "domestication of rice" had taken place in the north-east 10,000 years ago, he called for evolution of "new rice species" blending traditional wisdom and modern science.
"The cultural traditions of the tribal people have an important role in understanding bio-diversity conservation and management issues."
Emphasising on linking of bio-diversity, biotechnology and business in a mutually reinforcing manner, he called for concerted efforts by agriculture scientists for "saving genes for posterity".
"The loss of every species and gene limits our options for the future. If farm ecology and economics go wrong, nothing else will go right."
In ‘evergreen revolution’, Swaminathan gave thrust on soil health care, harvesting and efficient use of water, technology and appropriate inputs, credit and insurance and assured remunerative marketing.
Referring to the dry spell during the lean period in the world’s wettest place Cherrapunjee, he advocated harvesting of rainwater to resolve the crisis.