b'Box 1: Seed Keeping & Sona Moti WheatDr. Prabhakar Rao of the Sri Sri Institute for AgriculturalPRIMARY SOURCE OF GERMPLASM FOR Sciences and Technology Trust, India not only holds a Ph.D.CREATION OF NEW VARIETIESin plant breeding, but is also a world-renowned architect and blockchain enthusiast. His most prominent passion,40however, is Seed keeping, about which he has spoken extensively in TEDx Talks, TV and newspaper interviews. Rao and the various Indian NGOs the SSIAST works in35collaboration with, is actively involved with reeducating farmers, especially small and marginal farmers, in the art and science of traditional agriculture that involves the30keeping and usage of traditional, indigenous, non-uniform seeds, especially for organic or Natural Farming. So far, more than 2.5 million farmers have been trained. in this art25and science in India by SSIAST alone. More fascinating is Raos experience with farmers who are actively practicing Natural Farming with indigenous, non-uniform seeds: they20actively contribute to the revival and spread of local and often long-lost indigenous seeds and planting materials. Most recently, Rao and SSIASTs partner NGO, the Art of15Living Foundation (AOLF), rediscovered a five thousand year old indigenous Emmer wheat seed while on tour in the Indian State of Punjab. The seed was christened Sona10Moti (Golden pearl) soon after its discovery by the founder of AOLF, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, amidst significant fanfare in a large festival organized for small farmers in early 2019. Sona5Moti was also declared, based on local laboratory tests, to be the only wheat in the world that contains folic acid. Within days of its (re)discovery, direct marketing channels were0established between cultivators of Sona Moti and city wheatSeed(Other) Own Farmers Othersconsumers, such that the farmers Sona Moti stocks wereBanks Breeders (Proprietary)sold out even before the actual harvestat several times the retail price of the popular high yielding wheat varieties.EURO SEED CONGRESS LIVE SURVEY REASONS & LEVEL OF INTEREST IN Several seed companies recognize the importance of agrobiodiversity for plant breeding. However, only a fewAGROBIODIVERSITY CONSERVED IN SITUsource their breeding materials from in situ farmer-sources(Low/None)(e.g. from farmer-custodians of old potato varieties in theIt is not relevantAndesSee European Seed 2018). Most rely on gene banks(Low) Knowledge or their own private collections. This trend was also clearunavailable on wherefrom the live survey conducted during the 2019 EuroSeedsto access material Annual Meeting in Stockholm (October 2019), where 53 responses were received from seed industry representatives to the question Reasons and Level of interest in agrobiodiversity conserved in situ. (High)50% of the respondents declared the interest level to be high, with the reason thatNecessary for such biodiversity is necessary for R&D. Yet, only 3% of theResearch and (Medium)respondents identified farmers as a primary source ofDevelopmentAccess is difficultgermplasm for the creation of new varieties. The remainingdue to legal 50% cited the interest level to be medium to low eitherhurdlesbecause access was difficult due to legal and regulatory hurdles (e.g. regulations mandating benefic sharing) or because knowledge was unavailable as to where to access materials, or because the benefits of these materials were(Medium)unknown.Benefit are not knownIf you wish to read more about the benefits of data platforms and how blockchain can address ethical issues, please make sure to check out the full version of this article on our website: european-seed.comEUROPEAN-SEED.COMIEUROPEAN SEED I 27'