Tribal Development Fund - Kiphire
Tribal Development Fund - Kiphire
The present project proposal is to improve the quality of life of 200 marginal farmers through integrated Natural Resource Management based “Wadi” approach. The proposed project will be implemented in Amahator village, Kiphire, with the intent to make it an exemplary district. Kiphire district in Nagaland has been selected as one of the 117 aspirational districts in the country by the government of India in November 2017.
Located in the easternmost part of the State bordering Myanmar, and having a total Area of 1255 sq. kms, Kiphire district is 254 km away from the Capital city Kohima. Wedged between Saramati, the highest mountain in the state and the Jingkhu mountains, Kiphire district H.Q. is located at an elevation of 896.42 meters above the mean sea level. However the proposed village are at an altitude of 1800m and above. On the whole, the climate is humid and hot during summer and cold during winter with winter temperature touching a low of 1.0 °C and a high of 37.0 °C during summer. Monsoon period extends from June to September and sometimes up to October. The average rainfall for the last three years is 876 mm.
Kiphire is multi-ethnic in terms of its indigenous population. There are officially three recognized tribes – Sangtam, Yimchungrü, and Sümi. Besides these, there are several sub-tribes speaking various languages. As in the case with other Naga groups, each of these diverse ethnic groups is distinguished by their distinctive language. Owing to the many generations of cohabitation, all these ethnic and linguistic groups understand each others’ language and the people often converse interchangeably. Though there are variations in the details of the various cultural practices and customs among the tribes of the district, on the whole, their society is organized along similar structures. Although the people are largely Christian, with the Catholic and Baptist churches having a strong presence in the district; their traditional festivals are still observed but with touches of Christian elements. The important festivals celebrated in the district are Mongmong observed by the Sangtam during September; Metümnio observed in the month of August by the Yimchungrü and Tuluni observed in July by the Sümi.
All the three tribal communities have close social and cultural affinity with their counterparts in the districts of Zunheboto and Tuensang. The Sangtam and the Yimchungrü tribes of Kiphire and Tuensang district have a shared history and culture with their respective counterparts. Similarly, the Sümi of Kiphire district also shares similar socio-cultural ties with the Sümi of Zunheboto district.
With the majority of the people living in the rural villages, agriculture remains the main occupation of the people of the district. The primary mode of agricultural practice is jhum, also known as swidden or slash & burn method of cultivation. The main crops grown in the jhum are largely traditional crops such as upland rice, maize, millet and job's tears and varieties of beans. Also traditional crops such as soybeans, local varieties of bean called ‘Kholar’ (Phaseolus Sp) is grown as cash crop using traditional methods. Farmers are also taking up permanent paddy cultivation in terraced fields in favourable terrains.
The general climatic conditions of the district is also favourable for horticultural farming. In colder regions such as the foothills of Saramati Mountain, apples are grown in abundance. Such that, ‘Apple Festival’ has become an annual fixture in Thanamir, a frontier village bordering Myanmar. Other fruits like orange, mango, guava, and banana are also grown abundantly.
Kiphire District Demographic Data
The main occupation of the people of this district is agriculture with nearly 90 percent of the workforce engaged in it. The economic condition of the people lags behind when compared to the living conditions of the people of other districts in Nagaland. As it is located in the remotest part of Nagaland, its economic development has not been satisfactory. Kiphire has great potentialities for economic development if her forest resources, human resources, water resources etc. can be re-generated. Due to ignorance, lack of capital, scientific and technical know-how, infrastructure inadequacies, the Kiphire District has failed to lift her up to the level of other districts. The situation needs an integrated approach, which will include helping people to discover their own unexplored capabilities and realize the potential of their own underutilized natural resources. Simultaneously, it would build their awareness about the local environment and its linkages with sustainable livelihoods.
In this context the Wadi may represent a unique opportunity for tribal community to get greater control over their own development and management of their natural resources (land in terms of the Nagas). In practice, however, the community needs to develop considerable capacity for self-development to be able to take advantage of these provisions in the future. In this line, Wadi (orchard) model could be replicated in the predominantly tribal villages of Amahator block of Kiphire District.
BLF (Better Life Foundation) has been in the neighbouring district Tuensang for more than 9 years working with the local community. Since year 2010, BLF is working as an agency for the implementation of Farmers’ Club program of NABARD. In 2015, NABARD Regional Office have sanctioned TDF project a wadi model covering 700 families and have successfully implemented by bringing together different agencies and partners to converge in the project like world bank funded project under Ministry of DoNER, National Innovation Foundation, Not On Map for tourism, SRISTI, Nagaland Adventure Club and Green Commandos to launch the organic farming through the project. The main focus is on promoting niche product of marketable quantity with standard quality control and strengthening of existing as well as new SHGs and their livelihoods.
BLF has successfully implemented a community based pilot project on low chilling variety apples and other temperate fruits at Arenthre in partnership with United Sangtam Baptist Churches(Lithro) Association (USBLA) at their retreat centre. BLF has been working with several villages, having distributing over 1000 low chilling apple and kiwi saplings over the last three years. BLF has also conducted several informal training sessions on the management of apple and kiwi orchards with the villagers.