IFAD Country Representative Rasha Omar during the roundtable. (DIPR Photo)
A 3-day roundtable on Jhum underway at Dimapur to seek solution
Morung Express News
Dimapur | November 20
“Our lands have become barren, our waters drying up and the climate is changing for the worse”, Nagaland minister of Health & Family Welfare Imkong L. Imchen said today.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of a three-day ‘Roundtable on Sustainable Management of Jhum in Northeast India’ here today at Hotel Acacia, Dimapur.
The Government of Nagaland and Ministry of DoNER in partnership with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is organising the roundtable.
Imchen further lamented that the state of Nagaland has destroyed most of its limited natural resources through rampant logging, jhum cultivation and other activities. He expressed optimism that a roundtable involving IFAD would have positive impact and benefits for a rural state like Nagaland and lauded the institution for choosing Nagaland for a 6 year’s program which will begin in 2018.
In her opening remarks, country representative of IFAD, Rasha Omar mentioned that IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) with a specific mandate to eradicate rural poverty. It is also an international financing institution and as such they provide loans and grants to the governments to finance agricultural and rural development projects.
The idea of the roundtable conference germinated to design the Fostering Climate Resilient Highland Farming System (FOCUS) in the North East, she added.
The IFAD country representative said FOCUS is the first project to address in a structural manner the question of Jhum management, and it was realized during the process of design that Jhum is not only a production system but an ethos of life that generated passionate discussions about its conservation or replacement.
The roundtable aims to bring debate to the fore and discuss the different strategies to manage jhum cultivation in a sustainable manner both economically and environmentally.
Rasha said two approaches are being adopted in the North East Region – the extension of the jhum cycle to reduce the area deforested annually and the transition to sedentary or permanent agriculture.
Besides, the roundtable will also provide a platform to share international experience in jhum at University of Minnesota, and ICRAF, as well as lessons learned from external aided funded projects of UNDP, GIZ, FAO, IFAI.
ADG, Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), Dr. Randhir Singh Poswal, speaking on ‘Climate change and agriculture: the importance of jhum improvement’ said to develop in the agricultural field, Nagaland need good infrastructure along with application of science and technology and the farmers should be explained in simple terms to understand the advancement of technology in the agricultural field.
Speaking on the topic ‘Upland farming systems and food security: global perspectives’, Country representative, Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Shyam Khadka, said there is huge bio-agricultural diversity in the upland areas and therefore the need to take an ecological sustainable approach to farming in upland areas.
Stating that the issue of soil fertility needs to be tackled sincerely since soil loss in the NE region is very high, he also reminded that Jhum cultivation acts as the giver of nutrients back to the soil.
(With DIPR inputs)