Seed of the hour: Why villages in Chhattisgarh are dropping seed bombs

Rajeev Tyagi | Updated on August 02, 2019

Residents of Kamepur and Tangapani claim their right to the forest by going green

The world is living on credit. On July 29, California-based research organisation Global Footprint Network used data from the United Nations to announce that humankind has, in just seven months of 2019, exhausted the resources that the Earth takes 365 days to replenish. While the world frets over the cataclysmic development, mainly on social media, the villagers of Kamepur and Tangapani in Chhattisgarh are sowing seeds of change in the forests that surround them.

The two villages — about 90 km apart — formed their own Forest Conservation Committees last year, under the Forest Rights Act. With the guidance of NGOs working in the region, the residents of Kamepur and Tangapani started making seed bombs to disperse in the forests during monsoon. A seed bomb is a nugget made with native seeds, clay and compost. Unlike a sapling or plain seeds, these nuggets don’t need to be planted in soil. Rain and sunlight, along with the nutrition that comes from the compost, help the seedling grow out of the ball and attach itself to the soil below.

For a month before the onset of this monsoon, the villagers — most of them belong to the Gond and Kamar tribes — worked overtime to produce two lakh seed bombs. The seeds chosen for the project were mahua, kusum and mango. The approximate cost of each seed bomb is 30 paise. The seed bombs were then dispersed over 3,000 hectares of forestland. The project is underway in 10 other villages in Chhattisgarh.

Rajeev Tyagi is a photojournalist based in Delhi

Published on August 02, 2019

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