Women are the primary providers for the community and what better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than focusing on women’s role in the context of biodiversity. NEN Nagaland organized the 10th Edition of Biodiversity Festival to coincide with International Women’s day on 7th and 8th March 2019. The 2 days event was based on the theme “Strengthening Local Food Systems for a Resilient Future” and consisted of workshops on the Local Food Systems. This year’s celebration saw participation from diverse Farming communities- Chittagong Hills Tract, Bangladesh, Farmers from Jaintia, Khasi and Garo Hills of Meghalaya and Farmers from different districts of Nagaland, Seeds Conservation experts, Government Agencies, NGOs and Media personnel.
The 1st day consisted of a workshop on the Local Foods Systems with key voices from different stakeholders; farming communities, NGOs and Government Agencies. Dr Debal Deb, Biologist, Seed Conservationist and Farmer from Orissa was the Keynote speaker. In his address, Dr Debal highlighted the threats posed by Modern Science and Agriculture in conserving indigenous seeds, urging the communities present to engage in bio-diverse farming. He emphasised that “the more complex the food system on a piece of land, the more resilient the community”.
The 2nd-day celebration was marked with Biodiversity Exhibition cum Earth Market where the women farmers were given the space to exhibit their agro-biodiversity and sell their produce. Cultural performances, Seed Exchange between 10 different communities were some of the highlights of the celebration. 2 Women Farmers’ Collectives – Chizami Women Society and Dzulhami Women Farmers’ Collective were honoured with a citation and cash award for their contribution to conservation of biodiversity for food and nutrition through their Community Seed Bank they initiated in Chizami and Dzulhami respectively. The programme was followed by personal experience sharing on Biodiversity by 2 Women Farmers Ms Adile Wezah and Chutso T, Keynote address by Dr Debal Deb and Solidarity speeches by Guests.
Ms Bano Vinito, Chairperson, Nagaland State Social Welfare Board was the Special guest for the event. In her address, Ms Bano Vinito stressed on the importance of recognition of women farmers who are major contributors in conserving and nurturing our Biodiversity. She stated that “it is high time to deliberate on our local food systems”, urging the participants present to pass down our rich knowledge systems to the younger generations for a resilient future. She shared some of the initiatives of the Government on Women’s right- A 24 hours emergency Women Help Line-181 and One Step Centre where women in distress can seek help. (see attachment for news report)
The event ended with a demonstration of Natural Fibre textile processing and weaving by weavers of Chizami and Lasumi Village followed by Traditional Food Pot Luck prepared by 8 Naga Communities.
Links to Media features.