Agriculture

District Agriculture Office, Mon

SHRI. NYENGLONG PHOM, DISTRICT AGRICULTURE OFFICER MON, Mob No:- 9862113252

Agriculture is the main economic activity of the people of the district and paddy is the main crop. The district mostly practices two forms of cultivation, they are terrace and jhum. Terrace is a permanent field of cultivation because once it is made it continues for indefinite period. For terrace cultivation a gentle slope land is selected and is made into several flat plots for cultivation. Once the plots are made and arrangement of irrigation done, no large capital expenditure need be made every year. For irrigation, water from a monsoon stream or a fall is canalised to the field and the land is cultivated every year in the same manner. Unlike the plain areas, perennial irrigation and irrigation from tube-well or tank is not possible. In this system the top soil is not washed away and the fertility of the land is retained through occasional application of cow dung or other natural manures. After the lands get adequate water from the canal, the earth is tilled with spades and made into thick dough. As soon as the land is ready, the paddy plants are transplanted there, straight from the seed-bed. After transplantation the plants started growing within a week’s time. It requires minimum weeding and is harvested during October-November. Water is allowed to remain accumulated in the field till the crop matures. As the fields are small and the topography rugged modern agricultural implements such as tractors are rarely used for ploughing and harvesting. Bullocks, buffaloes and manpower are the usual means of motive power for cultivation and transport. The production per acre is much higher than that under jhum cultivation.

Another method more prevalent for cultivation is Jhum. Unlike terrace cultivation, for jhum the land is neither terraced nor made into flat plots. A portion of land for each village is earmarked for this purpose, small trees therein are cut down and the shrubs are cleared after which they are allowed to dry up in the sunshine for some weeks before they are finally burnt in preparation for the cultivation usually immediately before the monsoon rains. This plot of land is cultivated once or twice but hardly thrice in succession. The first year paddy is cultivated, and maize or millet in the second year. In the third year the production became low that the cultivation in that plot of land became unproductive. Then the land is kept fallow for about three to ten years depending on the fertility of that land and availability of other lands. If suitable land is not available the people tend to come back to the original plot of land to cultivate it again. This is a cyclic process of agricultural operation. The important food crops cultivated in this district are paddy, millet, maize, taro and some vegetables mostly pumpkin, beans, squash, mustard leaf, cabbage etc.

“Jhumland” as given in the Nagaland Jhumland Act, 1970 (Nagaland Act No.3 of 1974) means such land which any member or members of a village or a community have a customary right to cultivate by means of shifting cultivation or to utilise by clearing jungle of grazing livestock and includes any beds or river provided that such village or community is in a permanent location”. But it does not include any land which has been terraced or may be terraced for the purpose of permanent or semi-permanent cultivation whether by means of irrigation or not. It also does not cover land which is under permanent cultivation.

In view of the various demerits of jhum cultivation the State Govt. is encouraging small and marginal farmers to convert cultivable lands into terrace farming by providing monetary assistance. Social forestry and plantation are also being encouraged to prevent soil erosion and maintain the eco- system. Providing improved and high yielding seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and modern techniques of cultivation are some other measures of the State Govt. to improve the overall production in the agricultural front.

Rice is the staple food of the people in the district and it is grown during the summer months. Maize, which is also a summer crop, is the next important cereal produced in the district. Other cereals of lesser importance are millets, wheat, barley, jowar and bajra. Among the pulses mention may be made of arhar, Naga-dal, beans, grams, pea etc. The district does not produce much of oil seeds. Soya bean, rape seed, mustard, ground nut etc. are some of the oil producing seeds grown in the district. Among the commercial crops potato is grown all over the district. Major vegetable crops grown all over the district are cabbage, cauliflower, brinjal, chilies, tomato, onion, ginger, garlic, radish, tapioca, chow-chow and other leafy vegetables, such as, mustard leaves etc. Tea and sugarcane are also grown in the district.