Padma Shri Rahibai Popere and National Genome Saviour Farmer Award recipient Mamta Bhangare from Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, were felicitated by BAIF Development Research Foundation on December 7, 2021 at its Head Office in Pune. It was the BAIF Agrobiodiversity team, who had discovered and nurtured their passion for conservation of indigenous seeds and wild vegetables.
Rahibai from Kombhalne tribal village, popularly known as “Seed Mother”, is a Godmother to more than 3500 women farmers. Featuring among BBC’s 100 influential women trailblazers from more than 60 countries and in an award winning documentary at the Cannes Film Festival, recipient of Nari Shakti Puraskar, National Social Innovation Award and Vasantrao Naik Puraskar, this familiar face on national and regional television networks, has pioneered a movement to preserve traditional seeds while giving a boost to agriculture within the tribal community. This seed and plant conservationist is also an active member of the 2021 National Plant Genome Savior Community Award recipient Kalsubai Parisar Biyane Sanvardhan Samajik Sanstha, a community seed bank and seed saver group.
Mamta Bhangare from Devgaon village, who considers herself as a woman farmer, is modesty personified. This unassuming kitchen garden guide, has conserved 69 landraces of paddy, beans and local vegetables and has won acclaim for her conservation and cultivation techniques of wild vegetables while relying on organic farming and innovative vermi briquettes.
Bharat Kakade, President and Managing Trustee, Girish Sohani, Principal Adviser and Trustee, Rajashree Joshi, Programme Director and Sanjay Patil, Senior Thematic Programme Executive, BAIF, lauded Rahibai and Mamta’s knowledge awakening efforts and for linking science and technology to achieve the leap from Grassroot to Global and Research for Use.