Van Mahotsav - The festival of life

        Van Mahotsav day also known as the festival of life was observed by ICAR Research Complex for NEH region, on the 6th July, 2019 in the villages adopted under “Farmers’ FIRST project”. The program was held in the FFP clusters villages comprising  Nalapara, Umtham, Joigang, Purangang, Sarikushi, Borkashari villages. 

Van Mahotsav is a festival which originated in the 1950s was initiated by the then and first Union Minister for Agriculture Shri. K. M. Munshi to foster a sense of environmental responsibility among the citizens and to combat deforestation afforestation. With this in mind many people from all walks of life take part in this festival by planting or sowing seeds of trees.

The ICAR Scientists present during the occasion include Dr. Rajappa J.J. Scientist, NRM (Agroforestry) Division and Dr. R. Laha, Principal Scientist and PI of the Project along with Ms. Astha Barman (SRF), Mr. Cheku Aman Pariat (Field Asstt.) and Mr. Emanuel Sangma (JRF). Many farmers   attended the program and received saplings/seedlings of different tree species.

Dr. Rajappa J. J. stressed upon integrated farming system with the planting of trees that provide use as fodder, timber, fruits, shade and ornamental integrated with crop production, livestock rearing, olericulture, etc. He further stated that these trees will serve as a source of income in the nearby future and the planting of these trees in hills will also help reduce soil erosion and increase water retention in the nearby areas. Farmers in the Ri-Bhoi district have one of the most fertile areas in the Northeastern Hill region but it should be utilized in the right way, in contrast to commercial farming with profit as a source of motivation which ultimately leads to land degradation. The integration of Agroforestry systems in cereal and commercial crops it is possible to create sustainability, diversity with a focus on maximum land utilization and income generation.  Dr. R.Laha, Principal Scientist & P.I. of the project thanked  Dr. Rajappa , Scientist for organizing the the programme and farmers and other staff of  ICAR for celebrating Van Mahatsav Festival. He stressed on monitoring of the planted trees from time to time.

The saplings of different agro-forestry plants   species such as tree bean (Parkia roxburghii), bottlebrush (Callistemon Spp.), khasi mandarin and  Poma (Chukrassia tabularis) were  distributed to the farmers present and these saplings were then planted in and around the farm lands of farmers in the ten adopted villages under Farmers’ FIRST project in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. The efforts of ICAR was a small step in  its afforestation efforts but it serves as a leap in creating awareness in the minds of the people regarding conservation of forests and afforestation.

Van Mahotsav banner at Nalapara
Distribution & planting of saplings