Gaia Foundation's photography exhibition, We Feed the World, held in October in London, featured Deb's conservation work as one of the best examples of the triumphs and tribulations of the smallholder farmers and fisherfolk who bring food to the plates of hundreds of thousands of people every day. Report here.
Debal Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya went to 4 villages in Boipariguda Block of Koraput district, Odisha on 29th and 30th August to give hands-on training in rouging techniques to maintain the genetic purity of the folk varieties distributed to them earlier this year. This year, more than 1100 farmers adopted 35 folk varieties to suit their land types.
John Vidal's new article in The Guardian describes Deb's work as "the antithesis of Bayer and Monsanto." https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/05/feed-the-world-real-people-faceless-multinationals-monsanto-bayer
At an international conference "Stop Golden Rice", held in Quezon City, D. Deb talked with Philippino ministry and activists, and demonstrated the unnecessary public expenditure on developing Golden Rice, while several indigenous rice landraces from India and the Philippines contain vitamin A. [View video of Deb's speech here]
Basudha Study Circle Talk on "Why You Should Be More Concerned about Glyphosate Herbicide than Farmers", by Santanu Mitra, eminent expert on the environment and public health from Canada. February 24, 2018. 4:00-6:00 pm. 186A, Kalikapur Canal Road, Ekatre 2nd Floor, Kolkata 700099. [View video recording here]
D. Deb has identified a hitherto unidentified rare tree, locally known as Sitapatra as Cordia macleodii, of which only 5 mature specimens are surviving in West Bengal. Deb also adds a few novel characters of this species to its taxonomic description. Here is the new paper, published in Dec 2017.
The Crash Course was conducted from 26 to 31 October 2017. Trainees from 4 States of India and one from Germany attended the course.
Agroecology activists and rice conservators from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia visited Basudha on the 9th and 10th October. The team from MASIPAG, Philippnes exchanged seeds with Basudha.
Details of silver accumulation on Garib-sal rice published in ACS journal: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/ipdf/10.1021/acssuschemeng.7b02058
Deb's new paper Folk rice varieties, traditionl knowledge and nutritional security in South Asia is published in G. Poyyamoli (ed), Agroecology, Ecosystems, and Sustainability in the Tropics. Studera Press, New Delhi.
Basudha Lab regenerated a few seedlings using tissue culture method from seeds of the last specimen of Vitex glabrata, that existed in a roadside sacred grove in Chhandar village of Bankura district of West Bengal. This Critically Endangered tree was cut down in March 2016. The first seedling was successfully transplanted in Kerandiguda village, near Basudha farm, on November 18, 2016.
Basudha's Work and Debdulal's contribution mentioned in Shamika Mone's Source Book on Organic Seeds, published by OFAI, Goa.
The First Quarterly Report of Basudha Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation is published. Click to download
Kapil Shah and D Deb were invited to gave presentation before the Chief Minister, Gujarat, to suggest (a) enlisting of agroecology experts outside of mainstream agriculture universities on faculty of the proposed Organic Agriculture University, (b) agroecological design of a demonstration plot of the university, and (c) exclusion of GMOs from the State.
Deb gave agroecology training for farmers and NGOs at Chittagong, Bangladesh from 10-12 April 2016.
D. Deb and Avik Saha visited the districts of Dimapur and Peren in Nagaland and rescued 34 traditional rice landraces from imminent risk of extinction from agricultural modernization.
Recently published: "Variable effects of biochar and P solubilizing microbes on crop productivity in different soil conditions" DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2015.1118001. [Download PDF]
Editorial of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems vol. 39 (6), 2015 mentions Basudha's conservation and demonstration efforts. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21683565.2015.1025894 [Download PDF]
Under the auspices of Mr. Avik Saha, Basudha took over in November 2015 a new agroecological demonstration farm at Kashipur, West Bengal. This farm will (i) demonstrate agroecology and ecological fishery, and (ii) conserve multiple landraces of rice, millets, legumes and tubers.
In a recent issue of Current Science (10 Aug 2015), a new study on metal contents of 130 rice varieties was published, showing over 65 varieties containing high quantities of iron, and a unique variety containing a considerable amount of silver uptake and deposition in grains. This work was authored by D. Deb and Prof. T Pradeep, and Soujit Sengupta from IIT-Madras.
During a period of just 5 days, from the 13th June to 18th June, Basudha's campaign to save folk rice varieties persuaded over 400 farmer households to replace all modern rice varieties with heirloom varieties, on zero-external chemical input. D. Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya visited 8 villages of Gendabaju and Kodisuru villages of Chandrapur block, Rayagada district of Odisha to talk with them about the value of indigenous rice varieties and the means to winning freedom from seed corporations and chemicals industry. Entire communities in these 8 villages, comprising over 400 farmer households, pledged to abandon all modern rice varieties, and grow indigenous seeds instead, on their farms. They would collect seeds free of cost from Virhi in early June.
D. Deb surveyed 4 blocks in Odisha's Malkangiri district, and rescued 22 landraces to add to Vrihi's accession.
Basudha's Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation opened in Kolkata on 12 August 2014, entirely funded by Mr. Avik Saha, cultural activist and lawyer, and Basudha's trustee. This laboratory is established with the explicit aim to promoting conservation of the country's biological heritage. The lab will remain engaged in studies to reveal genetic, biochemical and nutraceutical properties of folk rice varieties; and tissue culture of critically endangered plants to promote their conservation for the benefit of the local communities. This is the only lab in the country that runs on individual donations, and does not, and will not receive any institutional funding support from any governmental or corporate institutions, and is entirely aimed at biodiversity conservation. Read report in Times of India (New Delhi/Kolkata) 13 August. [Download pdf]