Dimapur, October 16: An Indigenous Food Fest was organized by North East Network (NEN) on the occasion of the World Food Day, on October 16 at Chizami on the theme “Local Food First# Towards a Zero Hunger World”. 110 participants comprising of women farmers and vendors from Phek, Dimapur and Kohima districts with community leaders, Phek District Administration, members of NEN attended the Fest. The fest was organized with the objective of promoting local food and farming system for a sustainable future.
Setting the agenda of the Fest, NEN member, Seno Tsuhah highlighted the global scenario of inequity in food distribution and unsustainable food production systems, which has caused malnourishment and hunger, and calls on the need to ‘protect biodiversity, support local farmers, local food, and local economy so as to contribute towards sustainable food production and consumption, and reduce environmental impact’.
She remarked that it is time to acknowledge the contribution of women farmers who forms the majority of our agrarian work force.
Guest Speaker, Orenthung Lotha, DC Phek in his speech encouraged the farmers to be proud of who they are, for growing food and sustaining communities.
He highlighted about the different government programmes that support farmers, including IFAD project in Nagaland that focuses on strengthening traditional farming practices, conservation of indigenous seeds and inclusion of women in decision making.
He suggested that the existing ICDS programme instead of depending on poor quality food that comes from outside should explore ways for procurement of local food that is highly nutritious.
4 women farmers, Koneiu Lohe, Muluvolu, Vezhotolu and Lhikoweu Chirhah shared their experiences on ‘Challenges and opportunities in climate resilient agriculture’. They appealed to the Government and the local authorities present, to redress and address their concerns pertaining to seeds, land, nutrition, animal conflict, credit and capital, road infrastructure, technology, social security, and inclusion of women in decision making processes.
Earlier on October 15, the International Day of Rural Women, 118 women farmers and vendors, and members of NEN convened at Chizami and deliberated on the issues and challenges of women farmers in the context of climate change.
The Chizami Declaration was drafted and this was submitted to the Phek DC by women farmers.
Other special highlights of the Indigenous Food Fest include the celebration of multi-Naga cuisine, folk music and the Earth Market – where women farmers came with their organic produces i.e., vegetables, spices, snacks, spring salt, and others to sell. (Page News Service)