PUNE: Rahibai Popere, an Indian farmer and Padma Shri awardee, known for her work with indigenous seeds, urged that every village must have such a seed bank and people must consume chemical-free food.
“Every village must have a seed bank of indigenous seeds, that is my ultimate dream. People must consume chemical-free food. I urge the farmers not to use hybrid seeds and focus on indigenous seeds,” said Rahibai, who is a resident of Kombhalne village in Ahmednagar’s Akola tehsil.
Affectionately called the Seed Mother, Rahibai and another Padma Shri awardee Girish Prabhune, known for his work with the “Pardhi” tribes, were interviewed by Vinita Telang, during the first day of the two-day Maharashtra-level conference of voluntary organizations, organized by Sevavardhini at the Mahatma Phule Sanskrutik Bhawan in Wanowarie.
The conference is organized with the support of Praj Foundation, Persistent Foundation, and Mukul Madhav Foundation, and among others former RSS General Secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi, Sevavardhini executive president Kishor Desai, conference convenor Sudhir Mehta, Sevavardhini secretary Somdutt Patwardhan, joint secretary Manik Damle and office bearers Jayraj Phansalkar, Padma Kuber were present on the occasion.
Rahibai recalled that it was the illness of her grandson, which prompted her to use indigenous seeds and create a seed bank and her work later spread to many villages.
Similarly, Prabhune recalled several anecdotes on how his work started in the Dharashiv district of Maharashtra.
“I started studying about the nomadic ‘Pardhi’ tribe. My journey for their work started after seeing the police atrocities on the tribe. We understood the problems of the children, whose parents were imprisoned and then started working on them. We started with two individuals, who came on board as volunteers,” said Prabhune, who runs two projects “Yamgarvadi” in Tuljapur and “Punaruttan Samarasta Gurukulam” at Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Prabhune also narrated the work done by him across sectors.