Implementing Projects for Conserving Natural Resources
As part of Zizira's effort at 'getting to know the agricultural and other livelihood imporvement potentials of Meghalaya', a team of three visited the office of the Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA), Shillong and met with its Director, Mr Aiban Swer, in mid-September 2015.
Zizira operates from Shillong too, the capital of Meghalaya in the Northeast part of India – a region known for its verdant landscape, natural springs that irrigate fields, and unique herbs and spices. Over 80% of the population depend on agriculture. Many among them are growing high value herbs and spices too and could better their livelihood by finding a steady market for these, but struggle to do that.
Zizira is striving to open markets for them. To be able to help farmers of Meghalaya unleash the unrealized potential of their land we, at Zizira, need to be in touch with the institutions like the MBDA Shillong.
The Zizira team returned from the meeting at MBDA Shillong with a lot of hope for the State and its rural population, including farmers. We bring you a short report.
The MDBA Meghalaya is a relatively ‘new’ organization of the Government of Meghalaya. What stands out are the many plans under implementation – all to improve the livelihood of the marginalized population of the state.
MBDA Meghalaya was set up in April 2012 to implement the Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Promotion Programme (IBDLP) of the Govt. of Meghalaya. A holistic initiative to promote livelihood in Meghalaya was much needed as:
- Statistics showed that approximately 18% of its population lives below the poverty line – much better than other parts of India, yet there was potential to improve.
- The rural population depended heavily on natural resources like land, water and forest for their livelihood
- Environmental degradation reduced the area available to them and hence their scope for livelihood
MBDA was set up to implement projects for conserving natural resources and improving the livelihood of those below the poverty line in the state of Meghalaya.
Missions Covering Many Types of LivelihoodsMBDA has 11 missions to feed into the vision of creating livelihood and changing lives. Mr. Swer shared with us some of the notable projects under implementation:
- A Seed Bank for growing and conserving seeds of plants which could become extinct
- A Spring Shed Management program, for social mapping of springs in the state with the objective of conserving natural resource like spring water and making it available to the villages.
"Meghalaya gets over 2 billion cubic meters of water annually but, only 5% is used. The rest drains away. In fact, we end up even buying water! Springs, which are in abundance in Meghalaya, are not fully used. Now an effort is being made to document and preserve springs and increase the catchment area through the spring shed management programme." Director of MBDA
- Aquaculture is being promoted so that dependency on fish imported from across the border is reduced. There is concern about the chemicals used to preserve fish until they reach the local markets as they are said to be cancer causing.
- Micro Hydel projects are being set up to produce up to 5 KV of power.
MBDA Shillong Stands on Four Foundational Pillars:
- Enterprise Facilitation
- Good Governance
- Knowledge Management
- Natural Resource Management
Well Made Video Reports
The MBDA team is backed by a dedicated media team and it shows in the well-made videos uploaded on YouTube.
Here is one fascinating video about the mysteries of nature. Watch it now!
The Director was very forthcoming in giving Zizira suggestions on what we could do. MBDA Meghalaya is working towards improving livelihood – this could mean improved productivity and hence the potential for farmers to earn more.
Here is where organizations like Zizira could step in, to create market awareness about the produce/products and get them a better reach. We know that we have a great local resource in MBDA, to seek guidance from, as and when needed.
Zizira is proud to be part of this richly endowed region, one of the eight states of Northeast India, Meghalaya, with its bio-diversity and rich agricultural, horticultural and floricultural potential!
At the same time, we are very sensitive to the need to improve the livelihood of the rural community, including many farmers. We hope to make an effort in this direction.
Contact Zizira for unique, healthy and naturally produced products of Meghalaya.