On August 7th 2014, NESFAS in collaboration with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation) and the Agriculture Department, Government of Meghalaya, organized a field visit to Mawphlang, a village in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, to review the farmers’ livelihoods and their farming practices.
The side-line objective of this visit was to promote seed sharing practices and agricultural knowledge among the communities in and around Mawphlang.
The team, comprising of Esther M Sawian (NESFAS), Annelie Bernhart and Maximillian Manderscheid (GIZ), met a gathering of 45 farmers from the region. An open house discussion ensued where the community farmers discussed issues relating to the types of crops grown, both for domestic and commercial use.
Among the many topics, the consultation also covered the kinds of seeds used, methods of seed saving, cropping patterns, traditional planting calendars, water sources and usage, use of compost and fertilisers and, most importantly, the potential participation of the community at the Indigenous Terra Madre of 2015 to be held in Mawphlang.
The team then visited the residence of Kong Espirias Wahlang, a community farmer in Mawphlang who practices organic farming. The interview that followed revealed her knowledgeable insights on agricultural practices and water usage. “We don’t require much irrigation here,” she said. “We receive enough water just from the dew accumulation itself. Mawphlang experiences a lot of dew throughout” She explained.
The last of the visits was that to the William Lewis Boys’ Home at Mawphlang, where the first step to implement the idea of seed sharing was to be effected to the kitchen garden at the said orphanage. Prior to this, the team introduced the boys to the importance of maximising nutritional value through the kitchen garden.
It needs to be pointed that the aforementioned gathering of the 45 farmers was called to help share the seeds to the orphanage’s kitchen garden. Further demonstrating their good will, the farmers sent vegetables freshly plucked from their fields to the boys’ home.
GIZ is an international enterprise owned by the German Federal Government, operating in many fields across more than 130 countries. It primarily works with states, state agencies, and the private sector. Its headquarters are located in Bonn and Eschborn, Germany. The organisation was established on 1 January 2011 through a merger of the three German organisations Deutscher Entwicklungsdienst (DED), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), and Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung (InWEnt).
Source – Wikipedia
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