Shifting Cultivation Current Affairs - 2019
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Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb launched the Sustainable Catchment Forest Management (SCATFORM) project which is undertaken with the assistance of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).
Sustainable Catchment Forest Management (SCATFORM) project
The SCATFORM project aims to address issues such as forest cover loss and forest degradation have been mainly caused by shifting cultivation, which increases soil erosion risks on hill slopes especially in upper catchment areas.
The SCATFORM project being would be implemented mainly in upper catchments where forest degradation and soil erosion are severe and livelihood improvement needs are high. The project aims to the improve quality of forest in the catchment area by sustainable forest management, soil and moisture conservation and livelihood development.
The activities undertaken under the project involves promotion of bamboo plantation, agroforestry based livelihood, eco-tourism development, development of value addition for bamboo and other Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) in order to create alternate livelihood opportunities for local communities.
The 80 per cent of the cost is contributed by JICA and the rest would be funded by the state and central governments.
Japan International Cooperation Agency
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) aims to promote international cooperation as the Japanese governmental agency in charge of official development assistance implementation. JICA which is an incorporated administrative institution under the Government of Japan is the world’s largest bilateral donor agency.
NITI Aayog in its recently report has recommended that Ministry of Agriculture to take up mission on shifting cultivation to ensure inter-ministerial convergence between different ministries. The report was titled “Mission on Shifting Cultivation: Towards a Transformational Approach”.
Key Highlights of report
Central, State government departments of forests and environment, agriculture and allied departments have divergent approaches towards shifting cultivation. This creates confusion among grass-roots level workers and jhum farmer.
It calls for policy coherence and recognising land for shifting cultivation as agricultural land where farmers practise agro-forestry for production of food rather than as forestland. It also suggests that shifting cultivation fallows must be legally perceived and categorised as ‘regenerating fallows’ and credit facilities be extended to those who practise shifting cultivation.
It also addresses issue of food and nutritional security of communities involved in jhum cultivation during transition and transformation by broadening public distribution system (PDS) to ensure widespread access to cereals and other basic food items. It also noted that between 2000 and 2010, land under shifting cultivation dropped by 70 %.
It is traditional agricultural practice that involves clearing vegetative forest cover on land and slopes of hills, drying and burning it before onset of monsoon and cropping on it thereafter. After harvest, this land is left fallow and vegetative regeneration is allowed on it till the plot becomes reusable for same purpose in cycle.
In north east India, it is called as jhum cultivation. People involved in such cultivation are called Jhumia. Shifting cultivation is considered as important mainstay of food production for considerable population in northeast India in states like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur.
Shifting cultivation causes in long term causes problem of land degradation and threat to ecology of the region at large. Burning of forests provide temporary nutrients like potash to soil. Burning of forests results in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as CO2, NO2. It also increases surface run off of rainwater leading to soil erosion.