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Advantages and disadvantages of Shifting Cultivation in India | Tractorgyan

    Advantages and disadvantages of Shifting Cultivation in India | Tractorgyan

10 Aug, 2022

Shifting Farmers that practice cultivation briefly cultivates the land for two or three seasons. After that, they leave the field to grow vegetables naturally. Farmers then relocate to a new location. When the soil loses its fertility or the area becomes overtaken by weeds, they move out. When the earth is allowed to recover fertility, the time required for agriculture is typically shorter.


Or say Shifting cultivation is a method of consecutive rotating agriculture and forest management used on the same piece of land. A fallow forest tract must first be cleared for farming. The region is left fallow for a time of rejuvenation after being utilized to cultivate a range of crops for a year or two, and the farmer then moves on to a new piece of land. In the previous plot, the forest gradually grows back, and the farmer goes back there after the fallow season.


What is Shifting Cultivation?

The indigenous populations of Northeast India frequently use shifting agriculture, also known as "Jhum," as a method of agricultural production. Farmers use the technique, also known as slash-and-burn agriculture, to clear land for farming by chopping down vegetation and burning forests and woodlands. This is a very simple and quick method of preparing the soil for cultivation. The bushes and weeds are simple to get rid of. The cultivation receives the necessary nutrients from the burning of waste products.


How is Shifting Cultivation Practiced?

While shifting agriculture is known by several local names across a considerable portion of Northeast India, its main traits are found to be uniform. which are the turning of fields use fire to remove land keeping the land barren for several years to allow for regeneration using labor as the primary input.

Lack of use of draught animals Instead of using a plow, extremely basic tools like scrapers and dibble sticks are utilized, and all the crops being grown are combined. 

Furthermore, it has been shown that hunting and gathering are significant side jobs for migrant growers in much of Northeast India.

Following are the steps are taken while practicing shifting cultivation.

The following are the steps in shifting cultivation: 

• Choose a piece of land 

• Graze or prune bushes and trees until they are stump-level the first to make way for crops is burned.

• Repeat steps 1-3 on a different plot of land once some time has passed. 

• Shifting cultivation is a farming technique in which a plot of land is first used for farming, then later abandoned.


How largely is shifting cultivation practiced or what is the extent of shifting cultivation?

According to recent estimates, shifting cultivation covers 0.59 percent of the entire land area in India. The environment and ecology of these areas have been severely and widely degraded by shifting farming. A given land's changing cultivation cycle, which used to last for 15-20 years, is now only two or three years long. As a result, there has been extensive deforestation, loss of soil and nutrients, and weed and other species invasion. Significant damage has been done to the local biodiversity. According to recent figures, Odisha is the state with the most land used for shifting cultivation in India.


Different names of shifting cultivation in different areas

In the hilly states of northeastern India, it is referred to as Jhum or Jum, in Orissa, Podu, Dabi, Koman or Bringa, in the Western Ghats, as Watra, in the southeast of Rajasthan, as Penda, Bewar or Dahia, and in the Madhya Pradesh district of Bastar, as Deppa or Kumari.


Advantages of shifting cultivation

• For those who reside in hilly places, it is helpful. It is the simplest method for growing their crops. With a little manual tool, it is simple to eliminate weeds and tiny bushes.

• Crops can be easily produced and harvested in a short amount of time. 

• There is no risk of flood or drought because this property may easily be routinely irrigated by stream water in the hills. 

• It aids the used land in regaining all lost nutrients naturally, without the assistance of contemporary technologies of soil augmentation. 

• Since only a little plot is used for such cultivation, numerous resources are saved. Because it is organic, this process is environmentally friendly.


Disadvantages of Shifting Cultivation

• The greatest drawback of this sort of farming is the destruction of the forest. For example, in Cherrarpunji, Meghalaya, this style of cultivation has transformed an evergreen forest belt into a dry and brown terrain.

• Forests take years to establish, but this practice destroys them in a day for their purposes of life.

• Heavy soil erosion brought on by forest destruction leads to flooding in rivers and low-lying areas. 

• The amount of land available for shifting agriculture is decreasing because of the high population. The amount of area already used for this type of cultivation is strained, which causes the soil to lose more nutrients without being replenished.

• Deforestation on a large scale also contributes to global warming. 

• It is not profitable. 

• Biodiversity is lost as a result.

• Because farms only stay in one place for a brief period, there are no incentives to invest in long-term improvements like irrigation, store sheds, or even specific pest control, soil erosion, or soil conservation methods.


Conclusions to combat the effects of shifting on the environment over the land.

• Afforestation should be started to replenish the vast areas of land that have been abandoned. 

• To keep an eye on the land used for such cultivation, close monitoring of the landscape is necessary. 

• It is important to promote agroforestry, which involves farmers simultaneously caring for large trees and crops. 

• In some regions of India, such as Nagaland, shifting cultivation is nearly hard to entirely control. But we can resolve the issue. This approach can be enhanced rather than limited.


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