Shillong, December 04 : The 3rd Meghalaya Farmers’ Parliament began with its inaugural session today at the State Convention Centre, Shillong. The Chief minister of Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma, officially launched the Regeneration Meghalaya Project Program. This unique gathering spanning for two days, the 4th and 5th December 2023, aims to provide a platform for farmers across the region to convene, share insights, and collectively address challenges facing the agricultural sector.

Esteemed dignitaries who graced the event includes Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma, Isawanda Laloo, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Dr Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh, Minister, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, and Alexander Laloo Hek, Minister, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department, amongst others.

Organized by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare in collaboration with Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBDA) and Hills Farmers’ Union (HFU), this two-day event promises to be a celebration of agricultural diversity, innovation, and community resilience. With a focus on sustainable farming practices and the integration of modern technology, the Farmers’ Parliament aims to empower farmers with knowledge and tools to enhance productivity.

Reflecting on the Government’s agricultural vision, Chief Minister of Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma, stated “Today, I’m very happy to inform you that on the 29th of November, which was just last week, The Registrar of Geographical Indications in Chennai has finally given the GI tag to Lakadong turmeric. We started this process four years ago. It did not happen in one go. So what I am trying to tell you is that as we went along, we learned, we improved, and we did small things that would make a big difference in the lives of the farmers. As the government, we’ve always believed in ensuring that we don’t look at schemes anymore. I am very much against our officials and our ministers who focus on schemes because that narrows down our vision and our purpose. But it is about the result that the scheme is going to give us, and it is very important as political leaders and as government officials to keep an eye on the objective and not on the scheme that we are trying to do. I must congratulate the Farmers’ Commission for the great work that they’re doing. And let me assure them also that he will give full support to the Farmers Commission in their endeavour. ”

Distinguished speakers, including agricultural experts, policymakers, and successful farmers, will share their experiences and expertise, fostering an environment of collaborative learning. Isawanda Laloo, IAS, Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare delivered the welcome address to the august assemblage. Dignitaries such as K.N. Kumar, Retd. IAS, Chairman Meghalaya Farmers’ (Empowerment) Commission, Commander Shangpliang, President HFU and Brief on Regeneration Meghalaya, Chau Duncan, COO Earthbanc on Regeneration Meghalaya and Dr. Sanjeev Panchal, Country President & Managing Director, AstraZeneca India on Regeneration Meghalaya were among the speakers contributing their valuable insights to this enlightening forum.

Dr. Mazel Ampareen Lyngdoh, Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare stated, “How do we inspire our farmers to embrace a fresh start and believe in the sustainability of biodiversity for future generations through natural farming practices in our state? The key message I want to convey is the need for a conducive platform to engage farmers in a dialogue about investment—how much, from where, and how we can support Meghalaya’s government in initiating a productive and result-oriented investment. I call upon the experts present today to celebrate Farmers’ Day in Meghalaya to guide and enlighten us in the most practical and actionable ways. There’s much we are yet to discover in the executive realm, and your expertise is crucial in charting our course.”

Minister of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Department, Alexander Laloo Hek said, “Meghalaya has immense potential in the agricultural sector, realizing this potential requires a collective will, unwavering commitment, and a sense of responsibility. Our success is dependent on our attitude. Both the Central Government and the State Government have introduced numerous schemes aimed at supporting our farmers. Within the Veterinary Department, initiatives like the Poultry Mission and Piggery Mission are made available to farmers. To harness these opportunities, farmers must exert diligent efforts, and it is imperative for our officers to proactively engage with the community.”

Speaking about his participation at the event, Dr. Andrew Fleming, British Deputy High Commissioner to East & Northeast India noted, “Really pleased to be in Meghalaya. It is my first visit. I think it’s a beautiful state. And it’s also one of the leaders on climate action both at the national and global level. Meghalaya has joined the Under2 Coalition this month committing to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. And I think it’s the first state in India of the 17 I visited where the Chief Minister himself holds the climate change profile. Protecting and restoring nature, including forests is critical to delivering on net zero targets and building climate resilience. We must continue to work together to put nature at the heart of our response to climate.”

The Meghalaya Farmers’ Parliament remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting sustainable agriculture while preserving traditional farming methods and embracing innovative approaches to address the ever-changing landscape of the agricultural sector.

About Regeneration Meghalaya Project: Earthbanc is pleased to announce the official launch of the Meghalaya Reforestation and Sustainable Livelihoods Project (Regeneration Meghalaya) in northeast India, in partnership with AstraZeneca, Earthtree, Hill Farmers Shiitake Mushroom Coop Society and Worldview Impact (India).

About Regeneration Meghalaya project

The Regeneration Meghalaya project is supported by AZ forest and aims to support farmers to restore 22,670 hectares supporting biodiversity and soil conservation, as well as climate and catchment health co-benefits.

Around 200,000 trees have been planted, and now soil and water conservation works are underway to enable further planting of millions of trees in 2024. Biophysical indicators such as biomass, soil organic carbon, land productivity and land cover will be monitored in alignment with the UNCCD Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Global Mechanism of which, Government of India is a key signatory.