Assam: Mahan Chandra Borah has been dedicated to preserving indigenous seed varieties for years. He has established a seed library which has more than 500 indigenous seed types. Seeds of rare varieties are given to farmers for free. Moreover, he also imparts farming knowledge to students. Today, let’s learn above his two-decade long commitment to this cause. 

Chandra Borah learned farming skills from his father who encouraged the use of natural farming methods instead of chemicals. As Chandra’s interests in farming grew, he learned about the gradual decrease in the numbers of traditional seeds. He found it concerning and decided to do something for the cause.

Seed preservation  

After his father’s passing, Mahan Chandra Borah took on the responsibility of supporting his family through agriculture. In order to honour his father and to preserve indigenous seeds, he established ‘Annapurna Seed Library’ in Kathgaon, Jorhat district. He considers it as continuing the legacy of his ancestors. Notably, his seed library is home to grain seeds dating back to the 15th century. 

Spreading awareness

Chandra Borah highlights that the true inheritance from our ancestors does not lie in land properties but in the rich knowledge about agriculture that they pass down to us. He has dedicated significant effort to this legacy to ensure a consistent grain supply. He acknowledges that various kinds of seeds have completely gone extinct and his efforts of preserving the endangered ones remain consistent. He advocates for educating the new generation about this vital aspect of their heritage. 


Seed Library

Over time, Chandra Borah has collected over 500 seed varieties with the help of his friends. He began distributing these seeds to the farmers to raise awareness. In the beginning of his journey, he found it difficult to educate farmers and when he sought help from an NGO, he was asked for money. Undeterred, Chandra opted to pursue seed conservation independently. 

He also highlights why he chose to label his initiative as ‘seed library’ instead of ‘seed bank.’ He believes that the term ‘library’ symbolizes knowledge, which aligns with his mission of educating and informing others about seed conservation.

Future endeavours

Chandra Borah works with a purpose of disseminating knowledge to the young generation. He wishes to open a seed school to ensure that his legacy is passed on to the young kids. He even expresses his will to collaborate with more people for this endeavour. He actively engages with children in schools and participates in various NGO programmes. Through these platforms, he aims to advocate for the significance of indigenous seeds.