Nagaland farmer believes solution to cope with this pandemic lies within community

Vechinielü Therie, a 69-year-old farmer from Phek village, is a mother of eight and lives outside the village in Kohima and Dimapur. She lives with her husband in the community.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic lockdown has affected people in different ways. As other people struggle to get access to basic needs, Vechinielü Therie, on the other hand, said she and her family along with other community members are self-reliant. Most of them are engaged in farming-cultivating rice and vegetables for own their consumption. An alternative to the cultivated foods is green edible plants and fruits which are easily available at the forests near their community.

Therie said, “Many people consider rural life as backward and slow in development with poor hygiene, low Illiteracy rate and low standard of living and lifestyle. However, during this Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, this general narrative seems to differ.” She added, “Rural areas are now the most preferred area to reside at the moment.”

The lockdown has affected many people especially those living in town and cities. Many of the community members are living outside the villages for better opportunities, especially the youths. Youths who are working in several private companies in the urban areas but they are the most affected with shortage of food, lack of work and not being able to return to one’s own home state. She stated “the pandemic though unfortunate is providing an opportunity for us to re-evaluate and reflect in pursuing a better lifestyle.”

To curb the spread of the virus, the village council has come up with several laws and resolutions to keep the community safe. Movements are being restricted heavily by the authorities in many places. However, farmers have not been refrained from working at the fields. “I urge everyone in the community to take advantage of this and work harder this year to have a bountiful harvest,” Therie said.

She added that Tuku (one of the North East Network’s Field Coordinators) has been visiting homes and shared about the importance of nutrition and the different handwashing techniques in the past, but this was not taken seriously then. However, this COVID-19 pandemic has taught the community members the importance of hand washing  and how it helps to protect themselves from the virus. “Numerous awareness sessions given by Tuku on WASH, specifically, hand washing and eating healthy has been a great help for everyone in this time,” she said.

Therie also shared that she, along with her community people, went on a one-day foraging expedition to look for uncultivated food crops and donated three auto-mobile loads of vegetables to Phek Town, especially for those people from outside their community, who have no/ limited access to vegetables during this lockdown. “This is one collective effort our community people have taken as a response to the nation-wide lockdown and also, to help the urban people in need,” she said.

 

REPORTED BY NEN

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