ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun organized a webinar on World Environment Day.

On 5th June 2020 (Friday) ICAR-National Research Centre on Mithun (ICAR-NRCM), Medziphema, Nagaland organized a webinar on ‘Perspective of Agroforestry for Improved Mithun Husbandry’ in celebration of World Environment Day.

Mithun (Bos frontalis), the magnificent bovine of the North East Hilly region of India, forages primarily on forest tree leaves, bushes, and grasses. A mithun calf of 20-25 kg, at birth, grows into a massive animal of more than 400 kg by four and a half years and while doing so it does not compete with any human feed basket. Nevertheless, with the increasing population pressure and agri-horticultural activities and large-scale deforestation in hills, the size of mithun inhabited areas is gradually shrinking. To mitigate this challenge, mithun farming and agroforestry need to be complemented to make it a viable and sustainable forest-based integrated farming.

The expert speakers and specialists were invited from across the country to create awareness on the implications of agroforestry for improved mithun husbandry in North-East India. The online program commenced with virtual tree plantation at Mithun Farm of ICAR-NRCM.

Dr. S. K. Chaudhari, Deputy Director General (Natural Resource Management), ICAR, chaired the Webinar. In his opening remarks, Dr. Chaudhry, while praising the conservation efforts of ICAR-NRCM for a remarkable increase in the mithun population in the country, stressed on value addition and selection of trees for improved mithun nutrition and the adoption of the Khonoma model of agroforestry. He urged to focus on the establishment of mithun breeding farms and the popularization of artificial insemination in the farmers' field.

Dr. Habibar Rahman, ILRI Regional Representative, South Asia, and Former Deputy Director General (Animal Science), ICAR spoke on the importance of livestock for earning a livelihood. While appreciating the concept of semi-intensive mithun farming being framed and popularized by ICAR-NRCM in northeast India, Dr. Rahman stressed the necessity of the development of technologies and their transfer to poor farmers and urged to prepare a roadmap to augment the mithun population in Nagaland.

Dr. Shiv Kumar Dhyani, Senior Agroforestry Specialist, ICRAF-South Asia Regional Program highlighted the potential mithan to make people self-reliant in northeast India and deliberated on the researchable issues pertaining to nutrient composition and strategic propagation of mithun fodder.

Dr. Virendra Pal Singh, Representative for South Asia at CIAT, CGIAR, who joins the Webinar from the Philippines, stressed on determining the carrying capacity of forest land so that mithun husbandry becomes sustainable. Dr. Singh further highlighted the importance of healthy soil for producing healthy fodder.

Several panelists of national repute including Dr. N. S. R. Sastry, Dr. Subhrasnu Pan, Dr. K. P. Mohapatra, Dr. M. Kishan Kumar, and Dr. Vijay M. Ilorkar acted as a panelist in the Round Table on "Integrating Mithun farming and Agroforestry". The need to assess the carrying capacity of forests, generation of baseline data of fodder plants, propagation methods including nursery management, fodder producing capacity of plant species and pressure on soil, and optimization of mithun production system through supplementary feeding were action points discussed.

Dr. Abhijit Mitra, Director of ICAR-NRCM, welcomed all the dignitaries and highlighted the socioeconomic importance of champion animal of North-East India, Mithun. He also expressed his keen interest to take prompt actions and release an e-compendium based on the deliberation.

On this occasion, scientists and staff members ICAR-NRCM and KVKs from all the mithun rearing states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland participated online in the program.