Malkangiri District issues Terms of Reference for “Committee on Agro-ecology and Agro-biodiversity” on International Day for Biological Diversity (May 22 2020)

Dinesh Balam, RRA Network and WASSAN | May 23, 2020

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Mr. Manish Aggarwal IAS said that honoring the call of United Nations and celebrating the cultural and agricultural diversity of Malkangiri District, for the first time in Odisha, a district-level committee on agro-ecology and agro biodiversity has been formed under the chairmanship of Collector & District Magistrate. He said that Malkangiri is a tribal dominant district home to different communities such as Koyas, Bondas, Gadabas, Durwas, Kondareddis, and others. Committee will support Tribal WSHGs of local communities / PRI members for active promotion of Agro-biodiversity as per the Biological Diversity Act and Odisha Biological Diversity Rules 2012. This will help in revalorisation and importance of the tribal farming systems.

Indigenous communities represent tradition, history, and the deep-rooted culture of our country. Odisha with 62 communities is a living example of such diversity. Indigenous communities of Odisha are also custodians of agro-biodiversity. It is only recently, Scientists are also uncovering wisdom of agricultural practices of indigenous communities which are seen ways to mitigate climate change. Recognising this, Malkangiri District is taking new steps to conserve biodiversity and promote biodiverstity centric livelihoods.

Malkangiri District Administration has initiated work on biodiversity conservation and biodiversity centric livelihoods. Malkangiri District Administration is in the final stages of characterisation of Malkangiri Goat breed with support of State Secretariat (NCDS & WASSAN) and Sahajeevan. Efforts on documentation and characterization of local poultry species is under consideration through the SPPIF project. District Administration is also exploring the possibility of getting a GI tag for turmeric in Swabhiman Anchal. Samples have sent for testing for exploring the possibility.

Mr. Ramchandra Pattanayak, Chief District Agriculture Officer said that master trainers from tribal communities will be identified to train grassroots extension workers of the department of agriculture and allied departments such as horticulture, animal husbandry and fisheries of tribal farming systems. Master trainers will also guide and support the extension officers in the planning and implementation of local specific agreocological initiatives.

Committee on Agroecology and Agro-biodiversity under chairmanship shall focus on:-

  • Documentation of linkages between culture and agriculture of different communities.
  • Documentation and conservation of plant and animal biodiversity through local community institutions with a focus on turmeric and motu cattle.
  • Supporting Biodiversity Management Committees for preparation of Peoples Biodiversity Registers and integrate biodiversity dependent livelihoods into planning and management at all levels. Swabhiman Anchal shall be the focus of these interventions.
  • Documentation of tribal soil health and location-specific cropping practices including intercropping and poly cropping.
  • Training of different government functionaries on the planning and implementation of tribal farming system practices/agro-ecological approaches through PLA and Farmer Field Schools/Rearer Field Schools/Fish field schools.
  • Liasoning with expert organizations, NGOs, and farmer organizations for the promotion of agroecology and agro-biodiversity.

Mr. Manish Aggarwal IAS also said that funds shall be made available through the convergence of different schemes. Priority shall be given to tribal communities and Swabhiman Anchal of the District.

ToR of Committee on Agroecology and Agrobiodiversity is given below.

Click to access tor-of-committee-on-agroecology-agrobiodiversity.pdf

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