GUWAHATI: In a bid to uplift local livelihoods and mitigate the impact of human-elephant conflict (HEC), a two-day poultry farming training workshop took place at the conference hall of Block Development Officer’s (BDO) Office, Tikrikila, West Garo Hills, recently.
Over 58 beneficiaries hailing from villages including Jamdamgre, Borogobol, Bandukmali, Photamati, Bordubi, Darenchigre, and Lower Kharsindap in the Garo hills region took part in the workshop.
Approximately 60% of the participants were women and that underscored the inclusive approach of workshop to empower the local communities. The training aimed to equip attendees with effective poultry farming techniques, particularly focusing on raising free-ranging chickens. This technique holds potential to garner better prices, thereby maximizing benefits for the villagers residing in these conflict-affected areas of West Garo hills.
Organised by Aaranyak, a biodiversity conservation organisation in association with British Asian Trust, the two-day workshop was supported by the Darwin Initiative and Meghalaya Forest Department.
By providing supplemental livelihood options, educating villagers about elephant behaviour and HEC, monitoring elephant movements, and offering support through innovative mitigation tools such as solar-powered fences, solar streetlights, and bio fencing, Aaranyak seeks to alleviate losses borne due to HEC incidents.
Dr Surajit Hajong, a seasoned veterinary doctor, served as the key resource person during the training sessions. He emphasised the suitability of the Garo hills region for poultry farming and highlighted its potential to boost the local economy. During the workshop, participants engaged with Dr Hajong to gain insights into effective veterinary care practices that contribute to poultry survival.
Dr Alolika Sinha, a conservation biologist at Aaranyak, moderated the sessions and remarked that building the capacities of local communities, along with active engagement from all stakeholders, plays a pivotal role in facilitating human-elephant coexistence. On the first day of the workshop, Range Officers Jezebeld Arengh and Annie Marak also graced the event.