Presidia, a Latin word for ‘Stronghold’, symbolizes the defending and promotion of agro biodiversity products by showcasing them as well-established quality produce and linking them to ethical market value chains.
Run by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, it is a project that is geared towards plants, animal- products and cooking practices that are at risk of leaving our plates. Looking beyond economic benefits, that are vital, NESFAS follows the Slow Food objectives of social, environmental and cultural sustainability. Presidium products are at risk of disappearing because of a lack of economic assurance for the future.
Thus, in partnership with Slow Food, NESFAS strives to support local economies that are built upon unique products and practices of our indigenous custodians.
What does a Presidia do?
• Looks for relevant producers, technicians and institutions to define the objectives of the Presidium and to create a work group.
• Surveys the production area to collect data and information necessary to establish a production protocol: an important tool to grant traceability and high quality of the product.
• Assists producers in the construction and constitution of a producers association with its own name and brand.
• Promotes Presidia products by telling consumers all over the world that these are extraordinary products and that discovering, buying and tasting those means learning history and traditions of a territory and safeguarding its cultural heritage.
Khasi Mandarin: Acknowledging its uniqueness, cultural significance and potential for creation of livelihood opportunities, NESFAS, along with the community of Khasi Hills, nominated the Khasi Mandarin for a Presidia project.
In the southern belt of Meghalaya, home to the War and War-Jaintia tribes, the soil has a high limestone content which neutralizes the PH, as opposed to an acidic terroir that would result in less aromatic fruits. In addition, the low altitudes are favourable as they provide a hotter climate to develop the sweetest fruits for the trees. Interestingly, the flowers of these terroir-bound orange trees also provide sweet nectar for local bees, which explains why the honey is most famous and popular from these areas. Both orange and honey production have long been sustainable livelihoods of the Khasi and Jaintia people.