The first International Agrobiodiversity Congress (IAC) opens in New Delhi on November 6. The event is organised by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources (ISPGR) and Bioversity International in collaboration with ICAR.
Speaking at the event, India’s Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi said that hunger and malnutrition are widespread around the globe and scientists will play a significant role in finding solutions to these challenges. However in the brace for sustainability, conservation of bio-diversity is also important. Today the loss of biodiversity is a major issue in spite of the ratification of the Biological Diversity Convention, 1992 by most nations. Each day around 50 to 150 species are getting extinct, and if something is not done, the world will face the danger of losing every eighth bird and every fourth animal species.
Mr Modi explained the need for international, national and private enterprises to pool their resources to make this endeavour a grand success. India is a land of rich biodiversity much akin to its culture. Like the number of languages, religion and customs, the Indian mainland also has diverse climatic conditions, and this ranges from tropical rain forests, arid and desert ecology, mountains and vast plains which contain flora and fauna not seen in any other country. India has a share of 2.5% of the land mass, but it sustains 17% of the population, 18% of animals and six and a half of global biodiversity.
Quoting from the Upanishads and Ancient texts Modi said that this land and its civilisation had made nature conservation as a part of its culture. In the same vein, he said that the laws on biodiversity must be harmonised so that they serve as a fillip and not a hindrance for the farmers and agriculture. This applies particularly to the third world and developing countries where agriculture is the primary occupation for a significant part of the population.