Aizawl: Mizoram agriculture minister C Lalrinsanga on Wednesday launched a Rs 539.272-crore ‘Fostering Climate Resilient Upland Farming System In the Northeast (FOCUS)’ project to improve farming system by enhancing resilience to climate change and promote settled agriculture in the state.
Speaking at the launch function held at assembly conference hall in Aizawl, Lalrinsanga said that Focus project was being launched to enable farmers practice better ‘jhum’ farming by conserving natural resources without weaning away traditional ‘jhum’ cultivation, which has been embedded in Mizos’ culture from time immemorial.
Lalrinsanga said that the practice of ‘jhum’ cultivation has caused enormous damages to forest areas leading to speedy climate change. He added that many water sources in the state often dried up due to climate change caused by ‘jhum’ farming.
Stating that the success of the project highly depends of the contribution of person concerned, the minister urged the newly recruited experts under International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), who would monitor the project, to give their best in successfully launching the project.
The launch function was attended by many important officials including three legislators ZR Thiamsanga, Lalrinsanga Ralte, Ramthanmawia, state chief secretary Lalnunmawia, IFAD country coordinator Meera Mishra and All Mizoram Farmers’ Union (AMFU) president Zion Lalremruata.
The FOCUS project is taken up by a Rome (Italy) based IFAD through the government of India. It is being launched in only two states — Mizoram and Nagaland — in the country.
A plan for collaboration with the Mizoram government was started through NLUP Implementing Board since 3 years ago. The project was started on 25 January last year and is scheduled to be completed by January 2024.
It will be implemented in four districts of Mizoram namely Mamit, Kolasib, Champhai, and Serchhip, which taken together constitute 42.75 per cent of the total geographical area of the state, 28.13 per cent of the total population and 32.83 per cent of the total number of households of the state.
The project is designed to cover 11 blocks, 272 villages and 3,22,500 people from 64,500 households.
To implement FOCUS project, the state government established a society called Society for Climate Resilient Agriculture in Mizoram (SCRAM), where the state chief secretary is the chairman.
The overall goal of the project is to increase household agricultural income of the beneficiaries and enhance their resilience to climate change. This would be achieved through the development objective of increasing the environmental sustainability and profitability of the farming systems practiced by the highland farmers of Mizoram.
The main departments are agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry and veterinary Sciences, Soil & Water Conservation and Agriculture Department (CH) is designated as the nodal department.
The project has three components- Improvement of jhum cultivation (better jhum & conservation and settled agriculture promotion); value chain & market access (value chain development and market infrastructure) and project management (project management structure and M&E and knowledge management).