NESFAS’ Agrobiodiversity Book of Meghalaya and Nagaland launched by MLA George Lyngdoh

Shillong, Nov 10: NESFAS organised a State level“Dissemination workshop on findings of Micro-nutrient rich and climate resilient crop species” at Khweng on November 9, 2021. Bah George Lyngdoh, MLA Umroi Constituency, Bah Clifford Warjri, BDO, Bhoirymbong graced the event as chief guest and guest of honour respectively.

The event also saw the participation of Community representatives from Khweng, Khliehumstem, Madanrtiang and scholars from ICAR. The workshop aimed at sharing the findings of the participatory mapping, production plan and assessment of increase production with the communities.

Senior Associate, Research, NESFAS, Dr. Bhogtoram Mawrohhighlighted the key factors of mapping study which was held inKhwengand Khliehumstem from Bhoirymbong Block.

He shared that Khweng has the highest agrobiodiversity with over 319 crops followed by Marmain, which are both from Ri-Bhoi district indicating the rich biodiversity in these communities.

These were ranked based on different indicators and found that most of the traditional crops were micro-nutrient rich species (MNRS) and climate resilient species (CRS).

However, the dietary diversity score (DDS)in all the study area was below the average of 5, and 5 is considered adequate to meet the minimum nutrient requirement of the body.

Under the REC funded project “No One Shall Be Left Behind Initiative” activities like Production plan was an interventionto increase the production of such speciesand also focused at increasing the consumption of those food groups that are missing from thediets.

This has shown a positive impact with a 30% increase, both in the production and consumption of MNRS and CRS in the partner villages.

The workshop was followed by the official launch of the Agrobiodiversity Bookof Meghalaya and Nagaland -Volume I, produced by NESFAS. The book is considered an encyclopaedia of food plants that are found in the Indigenous Food Systems (IFS) of Meghalaya and Nagaland.

“It is an honour to launch the Agrobiodiversity book, it is a pride for us as Indigenous Peoples of Meghalaya to showcase the rich biodiversity that is present in our food system.”expressed Bah George Lyngdoh.

Speaking at event, the BDO of Bhoirymbong, Dr. Warjri applauded the efforts of NESFAS and the communities in strengthening the agrobiodiversity harboured in the IFS. ]

He shared,“NESFAS would be the only organisation that have conducted such in-depth studies and produceda much needed evidence on the potential of food system to overcome malnutrition and reform unsustainable production.”

“The workshop has been one of the most productive ones that I have attended, rich in information and I see the potential of our agrobiodiversity that most of us are not aware of.” Dr. Warjri added.

Bah George Lyngdoh shared about his long association with NESFAS and also mentioned about the opportunity he had in sharing the findings of NESFAS at the recently held local parliament meeting.

Bah George and Dr. Warjri, together have expressed their commitment to collaborate with NESFAS and also urged NESFAS to scale up and expand the project to 145 villages under their districts. Additionally, NESFAS will also be piloting the procurement of local food in 5 villages within the mid-day meals and supplementary feeding programmes.

Bah Pius Ranee, Executive Director of NESFASshared, “The importance of mindful eating is key to inculcating a sense of appreciation and respect to our food.”

Symbolic to supporting our farmers and promoting health through local food, guests at the event were also felicitated with fresh local produce.

It was raised in the discussion that existing policies and agriculture advancement have promoted the introduction of improved and new crops varieties, which often results in undermining local crop diversity.

NESFAS aims to revive, defend and promote Indigenous Food Systems, and today’s event was a successful experience as it witnessed the support and determination of various stakeholders, besides the organisation and the communities.



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