News Highlights

Workshop on Agrobiodiversity

CDS was commissioned by FAO India to do an evaluation of the policies and laws in the state of Kerala with respect to the management of agrobiodiversity. CDS has since completed the study and the final report (Mani, Sunil, Mohanakumar S M, Santhakumar V and Abhilash, T (2019), Institutional Support for management of agrobiodiversity in Kerala, Trivandrum: Centre for Development Studies)  was presented at a Workshop at CDS on Wednesday, the 21st of August 2019. The workshop was attended by representatives of FAO India, the State Biodiversity Board, the State Planning Board, leading Public Research Institute and a leading NGO.  Based on the comments received, the report will now be finalised and submitted to the FAO by the end of the month.

Abstract of the report

Kerala is one of the most biodiverse states in the Indian union. The state has put in place an elaborate network of policies and institutions to maintain and indeed promote agrobiodiversity in the state. The present paper undertakes a detailed review of these by evaluating the policies and laws that impact on agrobiodiversity either positively or negatively. It further considers the role of public research institutes that generate the requisite knowledge for maintaining biodiversity and the cases of a number of local self-governments which have been successful in promoting agrobiodiversity. The public research institutes and nongovernmental organizations have played an important role in not just generating newer plant varieties and but also play a very important role in conserving existing varieties.  Based on the analysis, the study identifies a number of researchable issues that may be taken up in future, which will essentially contribute to the management of and mainstreaming of agrobiodiversity in the state. The ensuing analysis shows that while the state has a number of exemplary policies, laws and practices, its success at the level of local self-governments depends crucially on whether agrobiodiversity is tied to the livelihood strategies of ordinary people. Further, it also depends on the presence of certain key mentors or charismatic leaders within the local self-governments who can make a crucial difference. Merely relying on institutional forms such as Biodiversity Management Committees and People’s Biodiversity Registers are unlikely to produce the desired results.–