‘No conservation effort would be successful without women’

Kolkata, March 4 (IANS) No conservation effort would be successful without involving women, believes Pramod Tandon, the CEO of Biotech Park, Lucknow, batting for scaling up of initiatives that link women’s empowerment and conservation efforts, particularly in northeast India.

“Women are more focused and when they are given task related to conservation, they put all their efforts into it. In northeast India, because of the matriarchal system, it is very important,” Tandon told IANS here ahead of International’s Women’s Day.

The former Vice Chancellor of North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong, was attending the national symposium on “Plant Biotechnology: Current Perspectives on Medicinal and Crop Plants” & 38th Annual Meeting of Plant Tissue Culture Association (India) at CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology.

Known for his work in understanding the genetic makeup of rare, endangered and threatened (RET) plants in northeast India, Tandon has made seminal contributions in micropropagation, re-establishment in nature, and recovery of critically endangered endemic plants of the region.

Recounting initiatives led by his team at NEHU (by colleague Suman Kumaria), Tandon said the varsity conducted training for women in Meghalaya in hardening and cultivation of tissue culture- raised orchid plants in their villages.

“We would take thousand of plants to the villages. They were trained in hardening and cultivation and once they grew (in their backyards) they were able to sell them in the market,” the Padma Shri awardee said.

Tandon hopes the programme would be re-started and scaled up by the local government.

He also advocated the conservation of plant genetic resources and the integration of biodiversity considerations into mitigation and adaptation plans given the threat of climate change.

“To conserve declining plant populations, efforts have to be made to protect them in their natural habitats,” he added.