Paraa studio has created a knowledge sharing space that allows for constructive debates and dialogues on urban issues amongst academics, professionals, creatives and students.
This May, Paraa invited an agricultural expert to give a talk on the role of the seed as the initiator of life on Earth, Bangladesh’s history of agriculture and the current threats as well as practices in preserving our seed sovereignty.
The topic entitled as ‘Seed is life’ was discussed with distinguished guest speaker: Researcher Dr. M A Sobhan, currently a consultant in UBINIG, former Chief Scientific Officer of Bangladesh Jute Research Institute. The talk is relevant to the most compelling urban issue of food security; on restoring the right to food in the face of industrialisation and mass production shift of our agricultural based nation.
Hosted by Zaqaria Prince of Paraa, the floor was given to the speaker following a brief insight to the global context; questioning the application of genetic engineering in plant genetic resources that led to the patenting issues and the future of food systems.
Dr. Sobhan shared his experiences of various research works he conducted on genetic resources, mainly seeds and germplasms, in Bangladesh and abroad. He then introduced seed as the soul of biodiversity and a blessing to humanity, looking back to the history of farming throughout the progress of civilization.
He then focused on the historical pride and richness of our local biodiversity and how it turned into a growing concern with the multidimensional emergency created by patents on seeds and GMOs.
Later he highlighted on farmers’ rights and recommended the urgency of organic agriculture and preserving our mother seeds. The intriguing and informative session followed a presentation on existing practices as he introduced UBINIG (Policy Research Organization for Development Alternative). He highlighted on the practices of community owned seed banking and organic agriculture under UBINIG and their movement in reviving the local autonomy of the ‘Nayakrishi Andolon’. The session concluded disseminating the ten rules of Nayakrishi farming.
The presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session where the scopes and existing practices of urban agriculture was discussed and arising questions were answered. With a quick overview of the learnings, Prince concluded the discussion and the audiences were served with snacks. During informal discussions with tea, an inspiring video titled ‘We are all seeds’ was screened, featuring an Interview with Dr Vandana Shiva, one of the world’s foremost environmentalist, anti-GM activist and an advocate of ecological farming and sustainable agriculture as a solution to climate change, food security, hunger and peace.
The talk was educative in terms of learning about preserving our traditional seeds; and urges for engaging in community owned organic food systems and local seed banks as a practical solution to secure our right to food, and freedom. Hopefully ‘Seed is Life’ transmitted a proper awareness among the audiences, provoking to take actual measures to preserve the right to plant and share seeds of life and celebrate the sanctity of cultivating the mother earth.