Tripura practises Jhum in 17,000 hectares for paddy

AGARTALA: The Tripura government has targeted to achieve paddy cultivation in more than 17,000 hectares of hill land under improvised Jhuming (shifting cultivation) method in 2011-12.

State’s Agriculture Minister Aghore Debbarma said here on Wednesday that, the traditional method of Jhum (Slash and burn) had been banned in the state few years ago and the government had introduced various rehabilitation packages for the hardcore Jhumias.

”Despite sincere effort and initiative for alternative sustainable livelihood opportunities, still about 25,000 primitive tribal people are practicing Jhum but we are able to motivate them to give up the traditional method, which reduced the environmental degradation as well as increased the productivity,” Mr Debbarma said.

He, however, pointed out that over a lakh of tribal families belonged to Jhumia at the time of Tripura’s statehood in 1972.

Subsequently, it has now reduced substantially, though not eradicated . He added that the state government did not want to erase the word ‘Jhum’ rather it wanted to improve it with technological intervention as Jhum is associated with tribal life and culture.

Referring to the record, he attributed that before launching ten years perspective plan in the paddy production, Jhum was only in 10,735 hectares in 1999-2000 and in 2009-10 it was raised to 14,535 hectares and in 2010-11 the Jhum cultivation area had increased to 16,390 hectares because of modernisation and technological intervention.

Besides, per hectare production in Jhum area has also increased to 1.02 MT in 2011-12 against the target of 1.2 MT, which was only 0.5 MT in 1999-2000, he said, adding the production was increased because of the use of scientific methods and fertilisers as per requirement.

Mr Debbarma also maintained that the use of bio-fertiliser had also increased to 1500 MT in the state as a whole in 2011-12 against the target of only 1200 MT that was only 1.4 MT in 1999-2000. Similarly, the use of chemical fertiliser has increased to 60 MT per hectare against 25 MT in 1999-2000.

Highlighting the success of implementation of ten years perspective plan, which has also been expanded for two more years, Mr Debbarma added, ”The food grains production expected to be 7.52 lakh MT against the requirement of 8.56 lakh MT in 2011-12, which appeared to be a gap of 1.04 lakh MT between demand and supply that would be met up from import but the food grains production of Tripura has increased by 2.39 lakh MT over the past ten years.” (UNI)

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