Aizawl : Under its New Land Use Policy (NLUP), Mizoram is laying emphasis on ending the age-old “jhum” shifting cultivation and has allocated Rs.410 crore in this year’s budget to enable about 30,000 more tribal families to shift to stable farming, a minister said Tuesday.
“In this year’s state budget, Rs.370 crore has been earmarked for the execution of the NLUP. Under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana, Rs.40 crore has also been sanctioned for the same NLUP,” Mizoram Finance Minister H. Liansailova told the state assembly during its on-going budget session.
He said: “Already 90,139 farmers families have benefited under the state government’s flagship scheme, and 29,861 more families would be benefited during this financial year.”
“The Planning Commission has appreciated the Mizoram government for launching such a unique scheme. The NLUP’s success could be a model for other northeastern states,” he added.
The Mizoram government initiated its New Land Use Policy (NLUP) in January 2010 to put an end to the age-old shifting or slash-and-burn method of cultivation, and help the tribal farmers to shift to stable cultivation of various cash crops.
The minister claimed that after launching the NLUP, ‘jhum’ cultivation areas have been reduced by 42 percent and as such the forest cover has been increased in these areas.
This shifting form of farming usually involves cutting down of entire forests in the hills, allowing the slashed vegetation to dry on mountain slopes prior to burning and sowing of new crops. Rice is inter cropped with vegetables, maize, cotton, mustard and so on.
The NLUP aims to restore ecological balance by providing the farmers alternative sustainable and permanent land-based means of livelihood.
It also aims to create 21,480 hectares of bamboo plantation to benefit 10,740 families.
Mizoram has a large forest cover area of 75.77 percent of the total land.
According to an official report, the NLUP intends to keep 60 percent of the state’s total geographical area under forest cover and bring the rest under land-based development.
About 80 percent of farmers in mountainous Mizoram, bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh, still depend on “jhum” cultivation.