Ukhrul: A 29 year old resident of Teinem village in Ukhrul district, Manipur, Yomatha Raleng, was among the six panelists from across the globe to speak at the World Food Forum 2023 on Wednesday. This was a flagship event organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations via online.
Raleng, who comes from a Theology background, is currently working as the rewilding project coordinator at Hill Wild, an Ukhrul-based start-up company.
On the topic ‘Youth-led agroforestry’ at the side event titled “Branching out: Youth Action and Entrepreneurship in Agroforestry for Economic and Environmental Impact,” Yomatha Raleng shared on the efforts of Teinem village, her village, in rewilding barren areas to restore biodiversity based on Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge in collaboration with Hill Wild.
“It was an amazing experience speaking and listening to my fellow panelists, where youth presented their incredible experiences and insights on entrepreneurship in agroforestry for ecological and environmental impact. The event showcased the integration of GIS, challenged the food estate concept, and highlighted post-COVID economic strategies in tourism. We delved into global challenges, celebrated traditional wisdom, and emphasized the long-term sustainable potential of agroforestry,” shared Raleng post her presentation at the global platform.
Meanwhile, expressing happiness, Zeinorin Angkang, founder, Hill Wild, said “Congratulations! Teinem village gets a highlight at the World Food Forum. Thatha Raleng will be speaking on Teinem’s effort to restore biodiversity which is currently facing loss of soil nutrition and the disappearance of indigenous food and knowledge systems with a focus on reclaiming ancestral knowledge to maintain forests and establish a robust food system.”
Having come from a Theology background, with a specialization in Social Analysis, Raleng has great interest in tribal theology, tribal spirituality, and worldview, which are deeply connected to the land and ecosystem and how intrinsically related we are that produce the very base of life.
“I am committed to contributing to the restoration of biodiversity in Teinem village, my hometown, which is currently facing soil nutrition loss and the disappearance of indigenous food and knowledge systems. Teinem village’s focus is on reclaiming ancestral knowledge to maintain forests and establish a robust food system,” she said.
Teinem Village is located around 12 km to the west of Ukhrul district, Manipur. It comes under the Lungchong Meiphei Sub-division community development block.
According to Raleng, through the Hill Wild’s Rewilding project, it aims to alleviate climate change effects through reforestation, to restore soil nutrition and to generate better income for the community.
She further informed that the project needs a lot of community involvement in terms of volunteering labours, enduring non-profit partnerships and mutual understanding within the community in using the community land for the benefits of the municipal in ecological impact and economic development as a whole. The community will involve themselves in the traditional and easier method of planting, low investment with locally available plants.