Khasi food system gets global recognition

SHILLONG, June 25: The Khasi Food System has earned recognition in an international publication called ‘Indigenous Peoples’ food systems: Insights on sustainability and resilience from the frontline of climate change’. The book, by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, was launched in a virtual event on Friday.
It analyses eight different Indigenous Peoples’ food systems in Asia, Pacific, Latin America, Arctic and Africa, and identifies threats affecting their food security and also warns about their future and the impacts their disappearance will have on humanity’s ability to adapt to climate change.
In a statement, NESFAS said that the study was conducted in Nongtraw community and facilitated by the NESFAS and TIP. It highlights the centrality of Jhum cultivation, which is a rotational form of food generation and production.
Dr Bhogtoram Mawroh, Sr. Associate at NESFAS, and co-author of the Khasi Food System chapter, presented the key findings during the virtual event.
The study shows that more than sixty per cent of the food produced is a result of Jhum cultivation and this has enabled the communities to attain autonomy in food production and more than half of the diet and income comes from the Jhum-based Indigenous Food System (IFS). The study also records more than sixty species of food plants found in Jhum cultivation. Other key findings include the role of women, which has been seen to be prominent for many years in the process of food production.
The chapter for the Khasi Food System is titled ‘Treasures from shifting cultivation in the Himalaya’s evergreen forest — Jhum, fishing and gathering food system of the Khasi people in Meghalaya, India’, authored by community members of Nongtraw village, Meghalaya, NESFAS team — Bhogtoram Mawroh, Ruth Sohtun, Pius Ranee, Melari Nongrum, besides Phrang Roy, coordinator, TIP and founding chair, NESFAS, along with Gennifer Meldrum, Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, Rome, Italy.
Addressing the event, Mawroh said, “North East India and Meghalaya in particular still maintain strong indigenous food systems. However, this is coming under increasing threat. The study helps in shedding light on the sustainability of the Indigenous Peoples’ food systems and bringing out lessons for resilience and sustainability of the food systems in general. These will help policy-makers around the globe to customise their own policies on food for sustainable development.”
Severe food insecurity is nonexistent, and Nongtraw being one of our strong partner communities has come out as an example to demonstrate that indigenous food systems, such as the Jhum cultivation, have a very important role to play in achieving the target of Zero Hunger, NESFAS said.

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