Sunday, June 4, 2023

NEN organises 13th biodiversity festival in Phek

North East Network (NEN) organised the 13th biodiversity festival on Wednesday at NEN resource centre, Chizami, Phek on the theme “Embracing Biodiversity for Wellbeing”.
According to a DIPR report, guest of honour, agriculture production commissioner (APC), Y. Kikheto Sema appreciated the efforts of NEN for the initiatives to protect and preserve nature and people.
The collective impact of the NGOs has led to a better understanding of biodiversity and preservation of natural resources in the North Eastern states, he said.
The APC said that during his recent visit to Noklak, he was impressed by their footprints in the district, motivating and encouraging womenfolk to preserve the seeds and multiply serving as the best seed-keepers.
He further urged the organisation to promote activities that preserved and protected indigenous plant resources and to promote nutri-cereals.
He informed that the year 2023 would be declared “year of millets” and proposed for applying for a G.I tag for indigenous food products such as Axone, Anishe and dried bamboo shoots.
Kikheto further commented that the North-Eastern states have been able to retain a significant proportion of their biodiversity, possibly due to long years of isolation and the difficult terrain.
However, he said it was now under increasing pressure to unleash its resources for economic development.
Any development process that fails to put in place environmental safeguards may cause irreversible damage to the region, he asserted.
Kikheto stated that in Nagaland, there was increasing pressure on forests for commercial exploitation to augment the income of rural population.
In this regard, he said Jhum cultivation was one of the reasons for forest degradation and urged upon the need for sustainable restoration and rejuvenation of jhum area for restoration of forests and conservation of biodiversity in the state.
He appreciated the people of Phek district for their hard work towards economic sustainability such as banning of import of pigs.
Kikheto proposed a proper road map for the state involving Agri and Allied departments for proper demarcation of conservation and cultivation areas for balanced maintenance of biodiversity and combating climate change.
He also appealed to various NGOs, FPOs and FIGs to forgo applying for only government subsidies and grants and informed that a new scheme called the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) was in the pipeline focusing on post-harvest infrastructure where the centre would provide interest subvention loan through NABARD and bank.
He pointed out that Naga women played an important role in farming and stressed on the importance of the role of women in changing the mindset concerning ecological issues.
In her keynote address, Tamara Law Goswami highlighted how human relationship with the environment was broken. She said the pandemic revealed how fragile human health was and women were the first to be impacted.
She expressed gratitude to all the stakeholders for the overwhelming response from the government led by APC and Agri and Allied departments and the local farmers for attending the event.
The main highlight of the program was the Heritage Seed Exchange between women farmers of different villages from Nagaland.
The programme was followed by an interactive session where APC assured that the state government would support the initiatives of preservation and promotion of traditional seeds by helping to buy the products.
He gave an instance where farmers of ENPO areas were keen on sharing their knowledge on Kholar cultivation.
The APC was accompanied by additional secretary, Agriculture department, Sachin Jaiswal and a host of officers from Agri and Allied departments including interns from NU: SARSD, Medziphema.


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