Agri - Kaleidoscope


Agri - Kaleidoscope - Indigenous Farming System of North Eastern India


Shifting Cultivation

Shifting cultivation is still prevalent in north east. In 1983, the Task Force on shifting Cultivation estimated the total area was 1.47 m ha and 0.44 m tribal families were engaged under this system. The Task Force reported jhum cycle of 2-10 years in Assam to 5-9 years in Tripura. Of late (1999) Forest Survey of India estimated the cumulative area of 1.73 m ha affected by shifting cultivation and maximum area affected was reported in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur.

Bun system of cultivation

This system of cultivation is practiced mainly in the state of Meghalaya. Under this system, the crops are grown on a series of raised beds locally referred to as “Bun” formed along the slope of the hills. The phytomass is collected on the raised beds along with the soil and burning follows after exposing and drying over a period in dry season. The entire shillong plateau has been denuded by this method of cultivation.

Rice-fish system of Apatani plateau

It is a multi-purpose water management system, which integrates land, water and farming system by protecting soil erosion, conserving water for irrigation and paddy-cum-fish culture (Sarangi and De, 2005). It has been practiced in a flat land of about 30 km2 located at an altitude of about 1,525 meter msl. In the humid tropic climate of Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Bamboo drip irrigation system

Water application on hill slopes for irrigation of plantation crops poses a serious problem of soil erosion. The tribal farmers in Muktapur, Jaintia hills district of Meghalaya have developed the indigenous technique of bamboo drip irrigation. Betel vines planted with arecanut as the supporting tree are irrigated with this system, in which water trickles or drips drop at the base of crop.

Alder based agriculture in Nagaland
In some pockets of Nagaland the farmers use Alnus nepalensis (Alder) tree for agriculture. In this system the Alder seedlings are planted on the sloppy land intended for cultivation and the alder grows fast till attain six to ten years old.

ZABO system

“Zabo” is an indigenous farming system of Nagaland. The word “Zabo” means impounding of water. It has a combination of forest, agriculture and animal husbandry with well-founded soil and water conservation base. It has protected forest land towards the top of hill, water harvesting tanks in the middle and cattle yard and paddy fields for storage for the crops as well as for irrigation during the crop period.