With an aim to create awareness about forest biodiversity and finding potential edible value of forest herbs and vegetables, J&K State Forest Research Institute (SFRI) in association with Centre for Conservation of Culture Heritage (CCCH) organised a one day forest food festival cum bio diversity workshop at Yusmarg in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.
Speaking on the occasion, Director State Forest Research Institute (SFRI) O P Sharma said that there is an utmost need to conserve forest biodiversity in J&K which is under serious threat. He gave a detailed presentation on national Biodiversity Act wherein local panchayats are empowered to stop illegal smuggling of medicinal and other non-timber forest produce (NTFP) from the forests.
Sharma who inaugurated the forest food festival at Yusmarg said such programmes are need of the hour to create mass awareness among communities living near forests. Renowned Chef Mohammad Yasin Reshi of Institute of Hotel Management Srinagar prepared as many as 10 dishes of various forest herbs which included dishes prepared from Pamb Haakh, Obej, Lai Gassa, Panz Unggee etc. He also prepared Halwa from wild corn flour which was served as a dessert. Director SFRI O P Sharma lauded the role of volunteers of RTI Movement and CCCH especially Dr Raja Muzaffar, Chef Yasin Mehrajudin Andrabi and Abdul Rahman for coordinating the whole event.
Director Finance Health & Medical Education Mohammad Rafiq, Trustee of Center for Conservation of Culture and Heritage (CCCH) Dr Mushtaq Khan, Syed Nasarullah Chairman JK Peoples Forum, social activist Dr Raja Muzaffar and Lecturer Botany Hr Sec School Pakherpora Javid Ahmad spoke on the occasion in detail.