Seeding for the Future at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark
Mohan Chandra Borah, a farmer turned conservationist, donates 109 rice seeds varieties to the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark
Mahan Chandra Borah runs a unique library in the foothills of eastern Himalayas in Assam to preserve the rare indigenous rice varieties, one grain at a time. This library will help in securing genetic diversity for climate resilience.
'Annapurna Seed Library' is the only library in Northeast India exclusively preserving indigenous rice seeds. Borah's mission is to collect, promote and preserve the cultivation of heirloom rice in the region because of the growing climate change concern. He started the library 12 years ago from Meleng on the eastern outskirts of Jorhat in Assam. A history-graduate turned farmer was curious to find out the local varieties of rice in the nearby villages or hamlets. His subsequent efforts made it possible to build a library which now includes different varieties of rice like flood-tolerant, aromatic, black rice, etc.
Borah converted his seed bank, Annapurna, into a seed lending library and it is now a sister library of the California-based Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library. This is India’s first and Asia’s only seed landing library. The basic idea is that you plant the seeds, let some germinate, then return some of these next generation seeds for others to borrow. Annapurna is the only listed sister library from Asia.
Balipara Foundation is associated with Annapurna Seed Library and Mohan Borah has been kind towards us, donating 109 rice seeds varieties and some heritage crafts to the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark Naturenomics™ Museum. Mr. Borah is also conducting surveys in the villages across Assam to identify indigenous medicinal plants, endemic plants and brings them to his nursery to preserve.