• Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Karbi women celebrate Biodiversity Day with Wild Edibles

Aaranyak in collaboration with Chandrasing Rongpi Memorial High School and Pirbi- a biodiversity business initiative, celebrated the International Day for Biological Diversity and organised an exhibition cum competition on “Wild edibles and associated traditional Knowledge” at Chandrasing Roongpi village, Kohora Karbi Anglong on May 22.

The objective of the exhibition was to sensitise the women about the richness of their surroundings with food biodiversity, their rich traditional knowledge, disappearing trend and values of wild edibles as vegetables, fruits, medicinal plants and tubers, etc.

A total of thirty indigenous women from five villages, namely Phumen Engti, Chandrasing Rongpi, Englepathar, Khailun Terang and Sarbura Singnar respectively participated in the event.

The event started with the welcome speech which was followed by a wonderful inaugural speech by the Chief Guest Dibyajyoti Doley, Divisional Officer, Dept. of Soil Conservation, Kohora Division, Karbi Anglong. Mr Doley said, “Preserving and conserving is an integral part of human nature, so we should always take care of our biodiversity if not life on Earth will be difficult”. The other guests present in the event were, Moniram Rongpi, President, SMC, CRMHS, Rupsing Engti, Range officer (In-charge), Dept. of Soil Conservation, Kohora Division. Bapuram Engti, a village elder. Dr Firoz Ahmed and Dr Jayanta Kr Sarma from Aaranyak were also present in the event to motivate the participants.

This was followed by the exhibition on the wild edibles gathered by the women where they shared their associated traditional knowledge on each of the items, season of flowering and niche environment found. A total of 101 species of wild edibles and herbs were exhibited by the women in the event. All the wild edibles were collected by the participating women from within their respective village and community forests. Various information related to their names, niche environment, uses, present status etc were also recorded in the event.

During an interactive session initiated by Dr Sarma, the participants shared information on various wild edibles which are rare in these villages, medicinal plants and their medicinal properties. An assessment was also carried out on their interest for ex-situ conservation of such rare and disappearing species of wild edibles in their homestead of agroforestry area or in the community forests of the village.

The women showed their deep interest in ensuring the richness and access to such food biodiversity for future generations. After the interactive session on rare wild edibles, the women initiated a discussion on economic and educational opportunities as well as to make strategic life choices in decision-making in different livelihood opportunities. And four women from Phumen Engti village and Engle pothar village agreed to promote basic education to women folk in their respective villages.

Out of the villages that participated, the first prize was awarded to Chandrasing Rongpi, while the second prize went to Sarbura Singnar, and the third prize was presented to Phumen Engti. Additionally, consolation prizes were presented to Khailun Terang and Engle Pothar.

One of the participants, Moina Engtipi from Khailun Terang village said, “Events like this are very informative and provide us learning opportunities related to wild edibles and their value in Karbi tradition and culture.”

Another participant Kave Rongpipi also shared that, through this event they could learn and share information related to wild edibles and could learn about many unknown herbs, their uses and disappearing trends. She emphasised that such an event is very beneficial for the community.

Dr. Sarma expressed, “Great learning from the women participants on over 100 wild edible plants who educated us about the niche environment of each of the plants, their phonology, traditional Karbi culinary, health benefits and observations on availability. It was an open university where indigenous Karbi women were professors”.

Overall, the celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity and wild edibles and herbs collection competition was a resounding success, leaving a lasting impact on the participants and inspiring them to conserve nature and surrounding forests for access to various biodiversity. The event would not have been successful without the support and dedication of Aaranyak team members and local communities.

Aaranyak is committed towards conservation of biodiversity, ecosystem and supporting the indigenous communities through Alternative Sustainable Livelihood activities, education and awareness programmes residing in Kaziranga- Karbi Anglong landscape. The whole initiative is supported by IUCN, Kfw.

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