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Community groups roll out farm on wheels at Mawhiang

HP NEWS SERVICE
Shillong, Aug 1: A ‘Farm On Wheels’ (FOW), a vehicle which is part of the livelihood concept initiated by four Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) groups from the community in association with the North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) was inaugurated on Friday.
The vehicle was inaugurated by Mawhiang headman Bindar Sing Kharwar at the village located in Mawsynram C&RD Block.
In a statement here on Saturday, NESFAS said FOW is a platform for farmers groups to sell their produce directly to the consumers and at the same time, create sustainable livelihood opportunities for them as well.
“This initiative aims at allowing businesses to function while adhering to social distancing norms and actually take the market to the consumer. It will ensure the urgent need to safeguard domestic food security and also the ability to market their local produce right from buying to selling, which is important to help thwart any disruption in the supply chain owing to the various uncertainties in the prevailing situation,” it said.
The headman of Mawhiang who is also the member of the PGS group said that the initiative will help preserve the traditional local system and assured that he will ensure smooth sailing of the business.
The FOW is literally a vehicle that sells chemical-free vegetables of PGS groups for two days in a week depending on the main market day (sngi iew bah) and local market days (sngi lyngka) on which this initiative functions. It helps consumers to have direct access to local chemical-free vegetables and the PGS groups to have access to markets using a hassle-free and cost-effective livelihood methods.
NESFAS Executive Director Pius Ranee said, “As per the recent survey conducted by NESFAS, it was found that there is a market demand for local produce even at the local markets. Therefore, this innovative idea of selling local products via the Farmer’s Market on Wheel is a good initiative to help enhance the income of our farmers especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.”
The PGS groups include Iatreilang group, Iamonlang group, Iasnohktilang group, and Iatyllilang group.
After the launch, the headman of Mawhiang and community facilitator Aiolian Kharsyntiew rolled out the vehicle to the main road where they sold all the products in three hours.
This initiative of the four PGS groups has set an example to all other PGS groups collaborating with NESFAS and senior associate of the organization Janak Preet Singh said there are 24 more PGS groups from across East Khasi Hills, Ri Bhoi and West Garo Hills who have agreed to initiate the FOW initiative soon.