ITANAGAR, 10 Sep: The Northeast Regional Centre (NERC) of the GB Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment (GBPNIHE) here conducted its 9th ‘Popular Lecture of GBPNIHE-NERC’ on Saturday.
The lecture, on the topic ‘Shifting Cultivation: Transformational Approaches to Sustainable Development in Northeast India’, was delivered by Mizoram University R&D Director Prof Uttam Kumar Sahoo.
He provided an overview of shifting cultivation at the global, national and regional scales, and said that shifting (jhum) cultivation is still prevalent in the Northeast “due to its socio-cultural roots, conservation of agro-biodiversity, and suitability to the topography of the region.”
He highlighted the myths and facts of shifting cultivation. Based on his extensive research on jhum cultivation areas in Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, the speaker suggested having transformational approaches towards jhum “through designing research/technological interventions to address environmental constraints; adopting appropriate soil conservation measures; promoting in situ seed production, and integrated farming,” the NERC informed in a release.
Some of the models established by the GBPNIHE have been adopted by the department concerned for soil conservation, it said.
Prof Sahoo elaborated the “benefits and contribution of jhum cultivation in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDGs 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 13, 15, and 17.”
“Jhum, in the true sense, is not harmful to the environment if the cycle is 7-8 years and there are opportunities to improvise with sincere efforts, monitoring and strong political will to transform the practice,” he said.
Dera Natung Government College (DNGC) Principal Dr MQ Khan commended the activities and the achievements of the GBPNIHE-NERC in the Northeast. He spoke about various environmental problems and how the government is also making efforts to address these issues.
“Awareness and education among the village institutions, farmers, and colleges need to be increased for strengthening scientific knowledge for improving the traditional practices,” he said, and stressed on “training the young minds for achieving the transformational changes.”
Besides AP State Council of Science & Technology Joint Director Bamang Apo and GBPNIHE-NERC head MS Lodhi, the programme was attended by scientists and faculty members from different organisations, including the BSI-APRC, the ZSI-APRC, the SRSAC, the APSCS&T, and DNGC.