By: Addie Chiphang
Ukhrul, Oct 20:
A Tangkhul Lass from Teinem (Tuinem) village of Ukhrul District have got the privilege to speak at the World Food Forum 2023 Flagship Event (from October 16 to 20) organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Ql. Yomatha @ Thatha (29yrs) Raleng minutely spoke on Teinem’s effort to restore biodiversity which is currently facing loss of soil nutrition and the disappearance of indigenous food and knowledge systems with a focus on reclaiming ancestral knowledge to maintain forests and establish a robust food system.
I’m very happy with this initial step in our generational work. This collaboration with Hill Wild is one of the founding principles of why we want to share indigenous food to the world while preserving our biodiversity and emphasising the need for investment in this mission. Our food system is one of the most resilient system in the world and we must protect it at all costs, Thatha said
Under the topic “Youth-Led Agro Forestry” at the Side event titled “Branching out: Youth Action and Entrepreneurship in Agroforestry for Economic and Environmental Impact,” Ql.Thatha highlighting the efforts of Teinem’s village in re-wilding barren areas to restore biodiversity based on Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge in collaboration with Hill Wild.
My background in Theology, with a specialization in Social Analysis, has fueled my interest in tribal theology, tribal spirituality, and worldview, which are deeply connected to the land and ecosystem and how intrinsically related we are that produce the very base of life. I am committed to contributing to the restoration of biodiversity in Teinem village, my hometown, which is currently facing soil nutrition loss and the disappearance of indigenous food and knowledge systems, she added.
Teinem village focus is on reclaiming ancestral knowledge to maintain forests and establish a robust food system. The community base Teinem Project is located 12 KM towards the west of Ukhrul district, Manipur, India. It comes under Lungchong Meiphei Sub-division community development block. The area of LM block is a community land donated for development purposes, however, around 30-40 acres of land approximately are remained as wasteland, of which the village authorities are enthusiastic to turn the area into a land use system such as agroforestry that can have both ecological and economic impact.
It is to alleviate climate change effects through reforestation, to restore soil nutrition and to generate better income for the community. Usage of rewilding grant in collaboration with Hill wild
Three crops that grows vigorously in the given climatic conditions are identified, they are: Tree tomato, Plum and Sugarcane. These crops are widely neglected as cash crops despite the feasibility to develop and grow. One example and purpose of economic viability from the proposed crops is that every year Teinem village like every other village of Ukhrul district buy in jaggery around 2000 kgs for Christmas celebration. This rewilding project will give the opportunity to produce their own jaggery that can improve the value exchange of the community. They can also have the breakthrough to be largest producer of plum and tree tomatoes to meet the needs of the local market and even beyond.
Re-wilding project needs a lot of community involvement in terms of volunteering labours, enduring non-profit partnerships and mutual understanding within the community in using the community land for the benefits of the municipal in ecological impact an economic development as a whole. The community will involve in the traditional and easier method of planting, low investment with locally available plants.
Further, it is targeted to plant 10000 saplings of tree tomatoes and around 5000 to 10000 of plum trees looking into the availability of saplings. Tree tomato and sugarcane take a duration of one year for harvest while plum take 3 at the minimum and 6 years at the maximum,Thatha amplified.