Shillong (Meghalaya) [India], Mar. 03 (ANI): India's north-east region is endowed with rich natural resources and has a rich old heritage and traditions. Ethnically and culturally distinct from the rest of the country, the region is a treasure trove of indigenous knowledge pertaining to agriculture, food, medicine and natural resource management.
To utilise the available indigenous resources and promote organic farming in the region, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) recently held an exhibition-cum-workshop in Meghalaya province.
One facet of India's north-east that attracts tourists is the range of delectable cuisine on offer in the region.
To promote organic farming in the region and to bring out the flavor of indigenous food, the ICAR for north-eastern region, organised a three-day long exhibition-cum-workshop on "traditional farming and indigenous foods of north-east'' at Umiam in the province of Meghalaya.
Dr. T. Mohapatra, secretary of department of agricultural research education, Government of India, and in the presence of other dignitaries, the event aimed to explore the possibilities and new ventures in food sectors of the north-east region.
The event also gave a platform for interactions among culinary artisans, traditional farmers, rural entrepreneurs, academicians, researchers and consumers to explore the possibility of entrepreneurship development in the traditional food sector of the north-east.
"We want to showcase our tradition, what the north-east people eat. We want to show the diversity of food and culture from all the northeast states. More than 2,000 farmers were invited as well as many leading speakers who have served this organization (ICAR) of north-east. This enabled them to have farmer-scientist interactions," said Dr. S.K. Das, joint organising secretary.
The workshop also created an opportunity to exchange ideas and highlight the challenges that people from the region face in practising indigenous farming.
Sharing thoughts and ideas under one platform provided an opportunity to blend traditional and modern scientific knowledge for developing sustainable technologies for hill agriculture.
"The festivals of north-east, the songs, the folk dances and every aspect that is so rich. Can there be a better place to celebrate India, its diversity, the cultural richness, the heritage of this country than the north-east? This is the region where we have to ensure not only lifelong security but also profitability," Mohapatra said.
He further said that unless farms are profitable, no youth is going to come back to agricultural sector and that is a very big challenge.
On the occasion, awards were given to various senior scientists for achieving milestones in their field.
At the exhibition, an array of items like fermented rice products, millets, traditional drinks, indigenous crop of Sikkim - cherry pepper, pickle and fermented soya bean, bamboo shoot, wheat, butter milk, cheese, locally available fruits and vegetables and many other local items were seen displayed at the stalls from eight states of the region.
As agriculture has strongly influenced the culture across world civilisations, such workshops will revive the practices of indigenous farming as well as promote the region's outputs. Moreover, locally sourced ingredients will help boost the culinary landscape of India. (ANI)