Ukhrul: A native of Ukhrul district in Manipur, 26-year-old Tuingamla Angkang is all set to attend the biennial United Nations Global Indigenous Youth Forum (UNGIYF) hosted by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The biennial UNGIYF is the only Indigenous-related high-level forum which will be held in Rome, Italy from October 16-20, 2023.
The UN Forum will provide a space of dialogue between Indigenous Youth and FAO Members, UN Agencies, Universities, research centres and other stakeholders to discuss policies affecting the future of Indigenous Peoples’ food and knowledge systems in the context of climate and biodiversity action.
Angkang, a young woman entrepreneur and founder of Secrets Cosmetics, a skincare products based in the beautiful hill district Ukhrul strongly believes that the Indigenous Peoples’ foods are super foods and that system can transform our world at large.
“From the UN Global Indigenous Youth Forum, I want to acquire knowledge and tools to advocate for policies and initiatives that respect, promote and strengthen Indigenous Peoples’ food systems. I also want to leverage networking opportunities for a future possible collaboration for entrepreneurs especially working with Indigenous Peoples,” said Angkang.
Emphasising her passion to learn and know from her ancestral knowledge and save the world, Angkang said that “My food vision is to go back to my roots to find answers. In my quest of re-indigenising myself, I found my indigenous roots of ‘preserving seeds’, ‘ancestral knowledge and my passion for skincare at an intersection of finding a breakthrough.”
Believing in what is good to the skin should also be good to the planet, Angkang started her venture in 2019 based on Indigenous Peoples’ seeds and knowledge. She sourced the ingredients of her skincare products from the farmers which is free from chemicals.
“Tangkhul Naga people consider seeds sacred. And we have festivals that invoke blessing to the seeds before sowing to nurture us. We preserve the best seeds through traditional practices and knowledge, which are climate resilient as well as ensure a better harvest,” she said.
Now, over the years, Angkang has worked together with seeds farmers from her indigenous people that also build better food systems.
Through her venture, this young Tangkhul woman entrepreneur is aiming to preserve and build a knowledge archive of Indigenous seeds so that seed farmers have better income with their good yield naturally where they do not need to succumb to GMO seeds and pesticides. In addition, she also plans to document Indigenous Peoples’ techniques, rituals and process of how they find solution in nature, she said.
“My products are pesticides free and it goes with a tagline- ‘Apply only what you can eat’. At the same time, my community is inspired by my initiative and one whole village have decided to farm together with me without pesticides,” she added.