The West Bengal Biodiversity Board has collected 250 variety paddy seeds from farmers from different parts of the state for seed banks in Birbhum, Bankura, South 24-Parganas, and East Midnapore.
The idea of reviving traditional varieties of rice and other crops after the the board developed the People’s Biodiversity Register which also includes traditional practices and bioresources.
Read the story @Millenium Post
More on the value of conserving traditional varieties:
Global demand for rice genetic resources
This study was motivated by a need to document and understand how genebank users make use of genetic resources to enhance access to, and promote the use of, rice germplasm. The findings debunk a misconception that accessions stored in genebanks are rarely used and justify why genebanks must be supported in the long term. Indeed, the demand for germplasm and genebank services is expected to increase because of climate change and global development goals to maintain or increase crop diversity.
The impact of the International Rice Genebank on rice farming in Bangladesh
The findings of this study demonstrate the valuable contribution of International Rice Genebank’s conservation and distribution of genetic accessions to the development of improved rice varieties and rice production on farms in Bangladesh. The results can also be used to justify the continuity of collecting accessions and identify future potential sources of additional genetic acquisitions for varietal improvement.
Even though I managed a large genebank for 10 years at IRRI, I still don’t fully understand why seeing lots and lots of packets of seeds in cold storage at -18 degrees Celsius—essentially a very large freezer—holds such a fascination for so many people. There’s nothing particularly glamorous about that, but it just seems everyone wants to walk inside and see for themselves.