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A Study of Conflicting Status of Jhum cultivation and Livelihood Rights in Arunachal Pradesh Dr Sukamal Deb, Ph. D(Rural Development) Certificate of Social Sector Leadership, University of California, Berkeley
Introduction • Jhum - Process of growing crops by first clearing the land of trees & vegetation - burning them thereafter. The burnt soil contains potash which increases soil’s nutrient content. • After a few cycles, the land loses fertility and a new area is chosen. This results in barren land. • For the tribal people in Arunachal Pradesh Jhum cultivation, an agricultural practice is a means of their livelihood. • They practice due to scarcity of plain land. • >6 Lac tribal families in India practice Jhum
Objectives & Methodology • Jhum - is in sheer conflict to the principles of sustainable development. Is debarring Jhumias from this practice is a betrayal to their livelihood rights a life sustaining activity. • Objective – To understand Jhum, see it from their perspectives, exploring the issues , sensitising the need of bringing in place appropriate options- thereby drawing a balance in the conflict. • Methodology - A diagnostic study, data from secondary sources, journals, reports, websites supported with field investigations (primary Source).
Literature Review • NER – 2, 62, 230 sq km, 7. 9%, a bio-diverse region, population – 3, 88, 57, 769 with 70 % in rural area. • AP - natural garden 20, 000 identified species of medicinal plants. 80% of world’s medicinal flora found in the Himalayan range of India, 5, 000 species of flowering plants, 550 of orchids, 91 of bamboos & 18 of canes. • AP-one of the 25 “Bio-diversity Hotspots” in the world, 3/4 covered by forests evergreen & semi-evergreen, habitat of 55 mammalian species of which 17 rare, protected species under the protection Act, 1972. • The bio-geographically strategic location, the distinct topography and the unique influence of the monsoon together support a diversity of ecosystems, different forest types and wetlands.
Literature Review contd. . . • Jhum practice varies from tribe to tribe - essential characteristics similar. Rites, culture & tradition interlinked & interwoven with forest, wildlife and agriculture, believe in Forest God or devils. Do not destroy forest unnecessarily. No other person understands and loves forest as tribal. • Shukla Commission (1997) “Hill farming in NE largely under Jhum farming is becoming less productive with shrinking cycle, caused erosion & forest regression. Not Jhumias resettlement schemes worked well; nor can jhuming be ended all at one. Problem needs to be tackled sensitively as Jhum is also a way of life”. • Soil is geologically young, highly leached and prone to frequent landslides and erosion in the hills and floods in the foothills (Kumar, 1997).
Literature Review contd. . . • Imposition of shifting cultivation regulation Act, 1947 or ban on timber-logging has not helped (Chawii, 2002). • Growing population, ethnic diversity, loss of forest cover, decreasing shifting cultivation, changing lifestyle, expanding townships, ban on timber-logging and increasing dependence on rice, vegetables AP would run into trouble in terms of food security, as production system are less productive, (10. 14 qntl / hect. of rice prod. ), but the Jhum harbours greater crops / genetic diversities, challenge lies in providing a minimum of traditional practices & modern agro-forestry (Arunachalam, 2002). • Controversy - (i) destructs forest & environment, (ii) causes loss of fertility in soil, (iii) causes soil erosion (iv) waste of time and energy (Borang, 1996).
Literature Review contd. • Larger issues: women - valued in such labour intensive Jhum economy for both production & reproduction. Akas, Mijis, Nyishis, Adis, Singphus depend on slaves similar to the number of wives (Gurudas). • Monpa, Sherdukpens, Apatani, Khampti do not do Jhum practice monogamy (Gurudas). • Jhum encouraged polygamy. wild fire from Jhum burning usually engulfs the nearby bamboo garden and elephant grasses. green cover is being reduced adding to pollution and global warming (Gurudas). • Tribes prefer to live in hilly areas as plain areas more prone to epidemics. Jhum pattern is not nomadic type but it is confined in a special Jhum site. As cycle of main Jhum is always maintained from 8 to 15 yrs it has sufficient time to regenerate forest in fallow area (Borang).
Literature review contd. • Supreme Court ban in 1996 on deforestation. Green Bonus to AP, Himalayan ranges – lunge of Nation. • 10 years Jhum cycle is viable (Ramakrishnan). • Younger generations are completely deprived of the knowledge of Jhum. So cease automatically along with the demise of the older generation. With the alarming rate of species extinction of about 2 species per day, it has been emphasised that species conservation are inevitable for human existence in the planet” Arunachalam. • In India environmental goals incorporated from 5 th Plan & Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 was enacted.
Literature Review contd. • Agricultural Policy (2001) in addressing the problem of shifting cultivation says special emphasis to be given to shifting cultivation, ensuring better land management, introducing improved cultivation with thrust in weaning the Jhumias towards better cultivation. Some measures: • Uniform land policy, in tandem to Customary land laws, • Ceiling on cultivable land should be fixed, • Land to landless poor; Control of selling of land; • Discourage Sharecropping ; Land sales be registered; • Restriction on sale of cultivable land to non-cultivators; • Progressive land tax.
universe of the study A. P. - Area 83, 743 sq km (13 th ), hilly terrain of Eastern Himalayas, population of 13. 83 Lakh, 3, 863 villages, 77. 33 % live in rural areas, 65. 82% BPL, international border 1630 km - Bhutan, China, Myanmar.
Views after burning of forest for Jhum cultivation Slash & burn
rice scenario in a. P. -2013 Total area under Rice cultivation : 1, 26, 500 ha • Production : 2, 75, 000 MT • Avg. Productivity : 21. 74 Qtls /ha (23. 00 NA) SHIFTING (Jhum) CULTIVATION • Rice under Shifting cultivation : 50, 000 ha • Production under Shifting cultivation : 56, 000 MT • Productivity under Shifting cultivation : 11. 20 qtls/ha SETTLED CULTIVATION • Rice under Settled cultivation : 76, 500 Ha • Production under Settled cultivation : 2, 19, 000 MT • Productivity under Settled cultivation : 28. 6 Qtls/Ha
Contribution of Agri-Allied Sector • • 31. 6 % of GSDP contributed by Agri. & allied Sectors - disproportionately low as 70% population depend on farm sector & it has 72 % forest cover. The total cultivable area is 2. 00 Lakh hect. with Jhum 1. 10 Lakh hect. and 0. 90 Lakh hect. permanent cultivation (31. 03. 2007). • Right interventions enabled to reduce the Jhum cultivation area to 0. 84 Lakh hect. in 10 years.
Rice scenario -2013 Total area under Rice : 126500 ha Production : 275000 MT Av. Productivity : 21. 74 qtls/ha (23. 00 NA) Jhum CULTIVATION Rice under Shifting cultivation : 50000 ha Production under Shifting cultivation : 56000 MT Productivity under Shifting cultivation : 11. 20 qtls/ha SETTLED CULTIVATION Rice under Settled cultivation Production under Settled cultivation Productivity under Settled cultivation : 76500 ha : 219000 MT : 28. 6 qtls/ha
Achievement - Watershed Dev. Project in Shifting Cultivation Areas (WDPSCA) during the IX th & X th Plans • • • Total Jhumia families(as in 2001 -02) : 64260 Jhumia families converted to P/cultivation : 5213 % Conversion during the IX th & X th Plans : 8. 1% Total Jhum area in operation (2001 -02) : 84002 Ha Area Treated under WDPSCA(up to X th Plan) : 28119 Ha % Area treated under WDPSCA : 33. 5% Trend in vegetative Regeneration in Jhum area • Area under Jhum (current & Fallow 2001 -02) =3, 08, 808 Ha • Total Area under Jhum (Net) = 84, 002 Ha • % area in Jhum operation currently = 27. 2% • % area left fallow for vegetative Regeneration = 72. 8% Source: Dept. of Agriculture, Go. AP, 2007
Contribution of Jhum cultivation towards total Area & Production in AP(Xth plan) Area under crops(Total) Area under Jhum Share of current. Jhum Land to total crop area Director, Agri viisiting WDPSCA in L/Subansiri : 2, 60, 000 Ha : 84002 Ha A view of WDPSCA in West Siang : 32. 3% Total crop production : 4, 42, 400 MT Crop prod. under Jhum : 61000 MT Contribution of JHUM to total crop production : 13. 8% 32. 3%area is contributing 13. 8% of total crop production of the State. Scientific management of jhum for higher productivity– immediate need
Findings • Jhum - a way of life, passionate treatment needed for its abolition; • Find ways to divert Jhumias without defeating livelihood rights; • Apply realistic approach & innovative ideas in framing policies; • Even if we are to ban Jhum it should not be an administrative imposition but a deliberate choice, motivate internally to option out; • The agricultural reform should be from ‘within’. Banning of Jhum, hurriedly, without comfortable options may fringe to the intra-inter equity justice; • Check gaps between haves & have-nots egalitarian fabric; • Jhum has benefits from livelihood point of view but in long run it destroys the ecosystem balance as one inch soil formation in nature takes about 1, 000 years. • Evolve scientific Jhum with minimised bad effect.
Findings contd. . . • ICAR- 3 tier hill farming package combining forestry, horticulture or tree farming & terrace cultivation as one moves down the hill. Jhum improvement can be carried further through appropriate R&D. • Nagaland - method of up-gradation by interposing a strong & increasing component of agro-forestry. • Development of traditional Industries can reduce Jhum as alternate occupation, resulting ecological balance. • Education in rural sciences, Research in agronomy & sociology must go hand in hand. • Look towards forest as source for the minor forest produces. • Paddy-cum fish culture in Apatani plateau an innovative way of economic prosperity. • Nowhere else are bamboos found at such a high altitude ; bamboo based industry has high prospects. Apiculture - immense potential. • Academic curricula - emphasise agriculture, poultry, forestry and other micro enterprises.
Findings Contd. • Our well being depends on womenfolk. Status relating to their socio-cultural problems, economic rights, participation in management, access to employment, food, health, etc. need focus. • Nutritional status of tribal, especially women - access to food, heavy work demands. Taboos & myths, prevalence of polygamy etc. needs to be removed. Women are devoid of equal political & property rights. • Nehru era laid foundation of tribal policy - Panchsheel : a guiding principle (1950) particularly in NER. “Tribal right in land & forest should be respected”. Policy legislation may take care of this. • Take sociologist’s view in promulgating any policy. Ecology & Dev. do not act as cross purposes, yet there are conflicts - the challenge is how we negotiate between the two.
Conclusion • Hills & Hillmans are an essential part of India. Nation building task is non-inclusive unless issues pertaining to their development not given priority. All human races are bound to go through transition - adjustment of policies & legal settings become inadvertent but as we believe in anthropogenic model of development, no law to hurt ethos, tradition, culture of human folk. • This seems more relevant for tribal who are more sensitive. Hurried push of Jhum may be injuring the tribal community system. • Appropriate option will be replacing Jhum with innovation & viable alternatives. We need to work hard on regeneration of Jhum land, scientific Jhum capitalizing on its benefits with minimised bad effect.