The Agro-Farming Experience has been conceptualized and implemented by the North East Initiative Development Agency (NEIDA) in collaboration with Dzüleke Eco-Tourism Board. (Photo by Vevozo Vero)
Vishü Rita Krocha
Kohima | July 1
Home to a variety of wildlife including the Barking Deer, Civet Cat, Macaque and Clouded Leopard, Dzüleke, also known for its pristine beauty, rich flora and fauna, is the ultimate destination for people looking to experience a day in the organic farms of the village. The Agro-Farming Experience, conceptualized and implemented by the North East Initiative Development Agency (NEIDA) in collaboration with Dzüleke Eco-Tourism Board, is one of the eco-tourism activities that the Agency came up with to incorporate tourism activities in the farms and eventually serving as a means to boost the economy of farmers in the village.
Speaking to this journalist, Temjensula Jamir, Project Associate for Eco-Tourism, NEIDA said, “this activity will ideally empower the small farmers and, to some extent, integrate tourism activities into small farms so that there may be an alternate means of income for the farmers’ community. This will also help in keeping the traditional means of farming alive and preserved while maintaining organic and environmentally friendly farming methods.”
For school children, this is an opportunity to learn beyond classrooms and hence, special packages were also offered for students to learn the importance of organic agriculture and get to know local farms by exploring the fields. The initiative has been designed in a way that students can engage in discussions about sustainability and seasonality, learn about plant anatomy and identification, while picking fruits and tasting veggies along the way.
Two Germans travelled to Dzüleke to experience rural life and their organic farming culture. Apart from them, there were families and groups of people from towns like Kohima and Dimapur, who registered and participated in the fun-filled learning activity. Temjensula Jamir said this is an opportunity for outsiders to come and do immersive farming while the villagers are exposed to more interaction with people from outside and, in the meantime, earn an income.
The initiative that started last year did not have an overwhelming turnout but she impressed upon that this is not for everyone but for those who are really interested. A fee that comes in two rates- Rs. 2000 for 4 people (500 each per person) who come as family and friends, and Rs. 450 for school students, is inclusive of the farming activity experience, a round of tea and locally prepared food. From the income generated, the Dzüleke Tourism Board obtains a 10% fee and the rest goes to the farmers.
“Whatever income has been generated goes directly to the farming community,” she said, while enunciating that what they provide is for outsiders to have a farming experience, whether it is paddy farming or organic farming of potatoes. The tourists get to experience lunch prepared by locals made of local ingredients and have it in the farm hut.
It was a first time experience for most of those who registered themselves this year and rated it as a “good experience transplanting rice saplings,” not having been exposed to farm life earlier. “Because it is rainy season, many people don’t want to get wet and many outsiders don’t make it probably because of connectivity,” Temjensula Jamir noted. However, observing that there is a good number of potential people who may be interested, she said they may continue with the initiative even in the coming years. The other possible package this year may be during the harvest season.
It may be mentioned here that the Dzüleke Eco-Tourism initiative under the Dzüleke Eco-Tourism Board (DETB) has been started with a view to conserve the natural resources of the village to achieve sustainable forest management through eco-tourism. As a part of the initiative, DETB also promotes homestay facilities and other tourist attractions.
The revenue generated from tourism activities directly goes to the service providers, with a small percentage going to the DETB for the Dzüleke Development Fund to support ongoing training, trail and facility maintenance and village development activities.