Jhum Cultivation in India
According to a recent NITI Aayog report on shifting cultivation, which is popular in the northeastern states, the Ministry of Agriculture should launch a “mission on shifting cultivation” to ensure inter-ministerial coordination.
Why the need?
- Divergent approaches to shifting cultivation exist in both the federal and state government departments of forests and environment, agriculture, and affiliated departments.
- This creates misunderstanding among grass-roots level workers and jhum farmers.
- Agriculture that is based on slash and burn techniques.
- To feed their families, farmers clear a plot of land and grow cereals and other food crops. Farmers transfer and clear a new plot of land for cultivation when soil fertility declines. This sort of shifting allows natural processes to renew the soil’s fertility; land productivity is poor in this style of agriculture because the farmer does not apply fertilisers or other modern inputs.
- In different sections of the country, it goes by different names.
- It’s found in the northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland; Pamlou in Manipur, Dipa in Chhattishgarh’s Bastar district, and a few other places.
Jhumming: Agriculture based on slash and burn
- In Mexico and Central America, it’s known as ‘Milpa.’ America, Venzuela’s ‘Conuco,’ and Argentina’s ‘Roca,’ ‘Masole’ in Central Africa, ‘Ladang’ in Brazil, In Indonesia, ‘Ray’ is used, but in Vietnam, ‘Ray’ is used.
This style of farming is seen throughout India.
- In Madhya Pradesh, it’s known as “Bewar” or “Dahiya.”
- ‘Podu’ or ‘Penda’ in Andhra Pradesh
- In Odisha, this is known as ‘Pama Dabi,’ ‘Koman,’ or ‘Bringa.’‘Kumari’ in the Western Ghats.
What does the report say?
- Between 2000 and 2010, the amount of land under shifting cultivation decreased by 70%
- According to data from the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, which was published in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s Statistical YearBook-2014, the area under jhum cultivation decreased from 35,142 sq km in 2000 to 10,306 sq km in 2010.
- The Wastelands Atlas Map reveals a decline in shifting agriculture in north-eastern States from 16,435.18 sq km to 8,771.62 sq km in two years and calls for greater data gathering and validity of the findings.
Source: The Hindu
Syllabus: Prelims; GS 3 (agriculture)