Interactive Socio-Technical Practicum

Developing a Proposal for a Landrace Seed Bank in the Mandi District

Students: Rohit Chauhan, IIT; Yogendra Dhiwar, IIT; Rishabh Meena, IIT; Reese Petersen, WPI; Christopher Rockwell, WPI; Rachel Scaer, WPI.
Advisors: Dr. Shyam Kumar Masakapalli, IIT; Dr. Puran Singh, IIT; Professor Fabio Carrera, WPI; Professor Svetlana Nikitina, WPI.

The goal of this project was to determine the need for a local landrace seed bank in the Mandi district. If this need was found the follow up goal was to propose model for a seed bank. To achieve this goal our team completed thorough surveys focusing on local perception and usage of landrace and hybrid seeds, local seed storage techniques, and farmer interest in a seed bank. Nutritional analysis was also done to compare both types.

Project Outcomes

Initially, we were unaware of the current agricultural practices being used in the Mandi district because of the lack of documented information. From our surveys in villages near IIT we discovered that there were several areas of possible improvement. Much of these problems like improper storage of seeds, unawareness of endangered seeds, and poor seed selection originate from a lack of knowledge. In an effort to help mitigate these problems we determined that a landrace seed bank would be advantageous to the farmers of the Mandi district.

We have developed a detailed plan for a landrace seed bank located on IIT’s campus. The proposed seed bank will offer a source of education for farmers while also lowering their seed expenditures and preserving the genetic diversity of the area. To help facilitate farmer involvement and begin a baseline source of documentation, we created an Android app and website. These tools will allow for better management of the seed bank and act as an easy source of knowledge for the farmers. We hope that this plan and app will serve as a model and inspiration for future seed banks in rural districts like Mandi.

Please download report for more details