Conserving or developing new or unique crop varieties would not only bring laurels to the farmers but it can also earn them cash rewards to the tune of Rs.10 lakh.
Such crops would be patented under the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act to recognise and protect the rights of the farmers at Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Agricultural University, Palampur in Kangra district.
It would also highlight their contribution in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of the new plant varieties.
An official at the Agriculture University said that the protection of farmers in developing or conserving traditional crop varieties would facilitate the growth of the seed industry. This would lead to the availability of high quality seeds and planting material to the farmers and the main objective of the scheme is to protect and conserve traditional crops and farming in the country.
“A branch of office of Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Act has been opened in the varsity where farmers can register their crops,” Dr Hirday Paul Singh, Joint Director at Directorate of Extension Education told The Statesman.
Under the scheme, farmers of any particular area, who are growing a particular crop for long time, can apply for registration or patent the crop after listing out its values and useful properties.
After this, the officials of Agriculture University would verify the claims of the farmers as to since when the crop is being grown or what are unique qualities which makes it different from other crops.
And if the claims of farmers are found to be correct the particular crop would patented in the name of farmers or a village where it is being grown. “The farmers would be issued certificate and such farmers would be awarded with cash prize of Rs.5 lakh to Rs.10 lakh,” Agriculture University officials said.
So far, the crops of three farmers of Chamba district have been patented at Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right Authority, New Delhi.
The officials said the farmers of HP, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh can apply for patent of their crop at the branch office setup in Palampur Agriculture University.
Now the Agriculture University would conduct awareness campaign for farmers through camps and farmers fairs. It is worthwhile to mention here that Palampur Agriculture University has got third centre under Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Right, out of the five such branches that would be opened in the country.