Although 75 percent of the population is depended on agriculture, the current practice of shifting cultivation in Nagaland is extravagant and is an unscientific form of land use, said Minister of Soil & Water Conservation and Land Resources, P. Longon. Speaking as chief guest during the launching of Global Environment Facility (GEF) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on “Sustainable Land Management in Shifting Cultivation Areas of Nagaland for Ecological and Livelihood Security” at Hotel Japfu Thursday, Longon highlighted on evil effects of Shifting cultivation which resulted in degrees in the Agricultural productivity and increase in environment deterioration. He pointed out that Jhum cycle had drastically reduced from 15 to 20 year cycle in the past to 5-6 years now which had resulted in decreased agricultural productivity and increased environmental deterioration which had affected the indigenous biodiversity to a large extent. Moreover, it has resulted in declined yields thereby resulting in food insufficiency. “With rapid increase in human population, there is increase in consumption level, per-capita availability of agricultural land in ever declining with decreasing efficiency on the use of our resource that leads to exploitation and manipulation of our eco-system.”
Country Director, UNDP New Delhi, Deirdre Boyt who graced the programme as guest of honour highlighted the activities of UNDP and said UNDP was a UN Organisation which worked with National authorities. UNDP in India works within areas like democratic governance, poverty reduction, energy and environment, crisis prevention and recovery, HIV and Development, she informed.
Commenting on the present project of Nagaland titled, “Sustainable Land and Eco-system Management in Shifting Cultivation Areas of Nagaland for Ecological and Livelihood Security”, she said the present and new stay forward, which was expected to have global benefits appreciating the good based of community participation, of the Nagaland. Boyt further added “let us make sure that women, youth, vulnerable section of the society are also involved in the preservation of environment”.
Regional Technical Specialist, Eco System and Natural Resources, UNDP Regional Centre, Bangkok Doley Tshering in his key note address said the issue of land degradation was one of the most pertinent environmental challenges faced today, and unless careful attention was paid to sustainable land management, it would threaten livelihood giving rise to poverty. Basing on his experience the technical specialist said that land right investment of time and resources were important while dealing issues of land degradation “built on the existing rights to encourage sustainable” he added.
He further said responsible government could do much by recognizing the knowledge and expertise of the local people and integrating these with outside expertise. “Right market structure should be rated so that product have value and farmers could see immediate value and incentives”, he added.
He further said that ensuring meaningful community participation along with the concerned department is a crucial element of success. Earlier, Additional Chief Secretary, Development Commissioner & APC, Alemtemshi Jamir IAS, who also chaired the programme highlighted rational view on tackling land degradation land issues in Nagaland and said that issue of Jhum had to be reconsidered with a new perspective. Commissioner & Secretary, Department of Soil & Water Conservation, Ayamo Jami IAS proposed the vote of thanks, the programme organised by Department of Soil & Water Conservation Nagaland and sponsored by GEF UNDP was attended by host of dignitaries, teams of officials from UNDP officers of Agri and Allied Department.
UNDP project to cover Mokokchung, Wokha
and Mon districts
Speaking to media persons on the sideline UNDP launching programme at Hotel Japfü Kohima, director soil and water conservation, R.T. Asang Jamir who is also the Project Director of UNDP informed that initially the project would be taken up in three districts of Nagaland i.e Mokokchung, Wokha and Mon covering 70 villages. The project titled ‘Sustainable Land and Eco-system Management in Shifting Cultivation Areas of Nagaland for Ecological and Livelihood Security’ is 100% funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and is a pilot project for three years involving 36 lakhs US Dollar (Rs. 15 crore approximately), he informed. Stating that the actual implementation work would be started by next year, he sought for a co-ordinated effort of all Agri and allied sectors for successful implementation of the project in the state.
(With inputs from DIPR)