Kohima, December 05 (NEx): Department of Soil and Water Conservation Nagaland in coordination with the Food and Agriculture Organisation United Nations organised an event to celebrate World Soil Day with the theme, “Keep Soil Alive, Protect Soil Biodiversity” on December 05, 2020 at Hotel Japfu Kohima.
Minister for Soil and Water Conservation, Geology & Mining and NSMDC, V. Kashiho Sangtam in his speech said the theme ‘Keep Soil Alive, Protect Soil Biodiversity’ has urged all to focus our attention on workers belowground, from the tiny bacteria to the slimy earthworm which contributes to processes that are indispensable to life on earth since biodiversity loss has affected the soil.
He said that the Department of Soil & Water Conservation has been a fore runner in conservation of natural resources since its inception and added that in order to sustain and manage the environment and to enhance agricultural productivity, proper assessment of natural resources for its capacity is of paramount importance. To achieve these goals, the government has implemented Soil Health Management Scheme across the state on a mission under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare which aims at promoting crop specific nutrient management and its judicious use, he said.
The Minister also called upon the Department of Soil & Water Conservation and all the Agri and Allied department and officers to make use of the Health Management through the soil testing laboratory which have been set up in all the districts.
Agricultural Production Commissioner (APC) Nagaland Y. Kikheto Sema IAS speaking on the occasion stated that it was now time for us as humans to stop being selfish and start taking care of the soil. He stated that the vital utilities among others of soil included soil as a backbone of food security, storage and filtration of water and most importantly healthy soil provides better crops.
Sema stated that being appointed as the APC, he had realised the fulfilment of the burning desire to contribute to the farmers community of the State. However, on his various tours and visits across the State as the APC, he was disturbed to see the condition of our soil in such deteriorated state and hence stressed on the importance of replenishing the soils of Nagaland.
He further stressed on the importance of all the Agri-Allied Departments to come together as one and work for the betterment of the State. The APC also spoke about the upcoming project Naga Model Integrated Settle Farming under which all Agri-Allied Departments would work in a single cluster of 50 hectare land which would eventually benefit the farmers of the State.
Addressing the gathering, Director Soil & Water Conservation K. Zhekheto Awomi emphasized on the importance of having the knowledge of the various macro and micro essential elements and nutrients present in the soil to evaluate the most suitable type of crop to be planted. He also stressed on the important role the bureaucracy, legislative and executive plays in imparting such valuable knowledge and awareness to the farmers’ community in the State. Awomi concluded by appreciating the Central Ministry and State Government for establishing Soil Testing Labs in all the districts of the State and heartily welcomed all agri-allied officers to work together and use the facility.
Theme Speaker of the event Principal Scientist (Soil Science) & Head Division of NRM, ICAR-RC NEH Umiam, Meghalaya Dr.Samarendra Hazarika took part at the event through online video conference. He stated that the objective of the event is to create awareness for the protection and preservation of the health of the soil.
Dr.Hazarika enlightened the gathering with various technicalities of the types of soil components with special focus on the North East especially Nagaland. His focus topics were mainly on soil health issues of North East and land degradation whereby he pointed out on shifting cultivation (jhumming) as one of the major cause. He stressed on the challenges of over exploitation of soil over the years and concluded by stating, “Use but do not abuse”.
Additional Director & State Nodal Officer, Soil Health Management, K. Khekiho Shohe while highlighting the Soil Health Management Scheme & Challenges in the State and North East India said that the Government of India has provided many schemes and facilities for Soil Health Management and organic farming practices for the state and he encouraged farmers across the state to avail these facilities which are free of cost.
The gathering also witnessed a short video clip on the theme, “Keep soil alive, protect biodiversity” and the release of a brochure on Soil Health Management Scheme which would be translated in all local languages of the State.
The event was chaired by Commissioner & Secretary Soil and Water Conservation Vikeyie Kenya IAS and the vote of thanks was delivered by Deputy Director (SS&LUP) Soil and Water Conservation Rongsenlemzung. AHoDs and HoDs of various Agri-Allied Departments also attended the event.
(News source: DIPR)