Post Mortem

Impact of traditional shifting cultivation in Nagaland

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/30/2020 12:18:08 PM IST

 Under the NAFCC (National Adaptation Fund on Climate Change) a project called “Gene pool conversation of indigenous rice varieties under traditional integrated rotational farming system (Jhum optimization) for promoting livelihood and food security as climate change adaptation strategy in Nagaland” is being implemented in five districts. 

BACKGROUND: The activities under this scheme are being implemented in a project on a convergence manner. An assessment of climate change dynamics related to agriculture suggests that three key features characterizes a climate- smart landscape: climate-smart practices at the field and farm scale; diversity of land user across the landscape to provide resilience; and management of land use interaction at landscape to achieve socio-economic and ecological impacts. Therefore, for agricultural systems to achieve climate-smart objectives including, improved food security, rural livelihoods and climate change adaptation and mitigation, it is imperative to take up an integrated landscape management approach. The departments envisage taking up this challenges in its vision 2030 by outsourcing the role of soil and water conservation measures in climate smart highland agriculture in collaboration with agriculture and allied departments under the ageis of National Adaptation Fund in Climate Change (NAFFC)

INTERVENTIONS: The work components in soil and water conservation interventions in this project are: contour bunding, contour trenching, loose boulder check dams, land levelling and bench terraces, plantation of area specific tree species, application of manure (FYM and green leaf), vermi composting, Jhum sanitation: construction of toilets in jhum areas, agro-forestry: regeneration of forest in fallow lands, farm ponds and water harvesting structures.

IMPACT: Changing cropping pattern, erratic rainfall, raising temperature, natural calamities, remoteness, lack of health care facilities, lack of awareness, low income, difficulties in communication & transportation and undulant topography are the major constraints and impacts faced by the local farming communities with regards to risks under climate change. Moreover for centuries many have considered jhum cultivation as a primitive and unsustainable cultivation causing irreparable damage to the soil health.

With an aim to sustain cycle of rotations and in line with adaptation to climate change, jhum field has been converted into semi- permanent cultivation minimum upto three years through improvising and integrating soil and water conservation measures such as, gap filling of multi-purpose trees i.e. tree bean, application of vermi-compost for growing winter vegetable crops, facilitating water conservation and it’s judicious use, increase in cropping pattern, proper sanitation, checking of soil erosion and nutrient management.

BRIEF ECONOMICS: Jhum cultivation is the highest employment sector in Nagaland. The amount of resources put in the field defeats the outcome in terms of economic returns, which is much, much lesser than the wages of the migrant labours. This lack of subsistence agriculture has led to mass migration of the farming community to the urban both in the state as well as outside the state, resulting to reduction of area of cultivation. There is need of dedicated policy and agency to rejuvenate this traditional cultivation both to retrieve and blend traditional indigenous knowledge with the modern technologies.

With active involvement of the farming communities and implementing agencies, they are now equipped to adapt with the climate change as the vulnerability and risk has been drastically brought down to minimum. On-farm demonstration and capacity building help them to rely on themselves for livelihood and economic issues and also adapting to climate change on the grassroot level. All the crops are grown and maintained organically, which yield fresh and high-grade organic produce, the future good of the planet but till the organic certification is made, the ideal economic returns will be laughing.


• Involving all the stakeholders for successful implementation of the project under the local governance of village council;

• Educating through on field demonstration and capacity building;

• Active participation of the farmers to harness their ideas and ready to improvise to new innovative technologies;

• Collecting sufficient information and accordingly planning it through the GIS platforms;

• Sustaining traditional rotational farming to a semi-permanent cultivation, minimum upto 3 years for cultivation, prolonging the cycles and addressing the climate change issues;

• Improving the living standard & health sector, addressing the livelihood of the marginal farmers and also to overcome the vulnerabilities and risks of climate change;

• Promoting Organic produce and marketing

(DIPR: Source- Soil & Water Conservation, Land Resources and Agriculture Department)

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