More than 8,000 farmers in Tamil Nadu celebrated the contribution of Nel Jayaraman at the recent Nel Thiruvizha or Paddy Festival, one of the biggest seed exchange programs in India.
Through the festival, initiated by Mr. Jayaraman in 2007, about 174 out of some 4000 rice varieties various regions in Tamil Nadu, most of them on the verge of extinction, were collected and conserved. Today it is believed to be the largest collection of live seeds of paddy in the state.
Every year, the seeds are multiplied and brought to the Nel Thiruvizha, where thousands of farmers came voluntarily to collect samples of the varieties of their choice. The farmers are expected to multiply and return the seeds the next year for further distribution.
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