The inauguration was symbolically done using “navdhanya”, i.e. placing stalks of a diverse variety of grains in a beautifully decorated vase. He was joined by eminent people representing different walks of life and different aspects of biodiversity – Sri. Bharat Mansata well-known writer from Kolkata, Sri. Vijay Jardhari, seed-saver from Beej Bachao Andolan, Uttarakhand, Smt. Uzramma, handloom and desi cotton activist from Malkha Fabrics, Sri. Roy David of National Adivasi Alliance, Dr. Uma Shankari, organic farmer from Chittoor, Smt. Sagari Ramdas, livestock expert from Anthra, Bhudevi, an adivasi lady from Visakhapatnam district, Sri. Ratnam from Green Climate campaigning to protect the East coast of Andhra Pradesh, and activists from Sompeta and Kakarapalli struggling to protect marshlands, and Sri. Jacob Nellithanam working on seed diversity in Chhattisgarh. Saraswati Kavula from NAPM moderated the program. A Telugu book on understanding our food system, “Tindi-Tippalu” written by Dr.Uma Shankari was released on this occasion.
More than 1000 visitors to the festival by evening, with many Hyderabad residents as well as CBD participants from various states and countries, being thrilled by the public celebration of biodiversity. In total there were 60 stalls by almost 65 organisations and networks, who are working on different natural products, from more than 15 States in India. It was a colourful festival with lot of hangings, posters, articrafts, designer hand-woven clothes, and rich nutritious food including organic millets, varieties of red rice and cuisine made from organically grown vegetables and grains.
Many participants felt they had rich food and knowledge. A sculpture, of farm bullocks carrying a plough and plodded by a farmer, made by wire mesh and scrap material, was huge hit, with children, families and individuals posing for photographs with this beautiful sculpture.
There was a session, where in participants and experts discussed the lessons from ecological agriculture for biodiversity protection and various dimensions of agriculture. Experts stressed the need for protecting seeds and germplasm from being privatized and commoditized. They wanted government to take steps to preserve traditional varieties of rice, millets, and various other crops, to protect life, health and environment.
In the evening, a colorful cultural programme was organized. Sri. Gaddar, famous folk singer, inaugurated the programme. He regaled the participants with his songs and aphorisms. Dancers from Adilabad performed a ‘dhimsa’ traditional dance, enthralling the audience with a fine performance.
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