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Jhumias In North East India: Challenges And Prospects


The methodology of Jhum to cultivate a land has been included in the pattern of many farmers in Northeast India for a long period of time. In the past it was considered to be an effective and efficient way to cultivate in the region, but the constraints and challenges have been increasing for the people who are residing there due to the inclined trend in the population. The life of the land has been diminishing as prior to this population growth, the process took 30 year cycle which has been decreased to 5 year cycle. This proves that the land is moving towards the death or impoverishment. This process was ideal for the ancient times as they have no issue of the population but now the population has been the factor of destructing the land.

Jhum process includes the growing of crops by first preparing the site beside the mountains. There are slopes that need to be shaped for the cultivation. This special preparation of the slopes include the drying and burning at an appropriate temperature so that the site is ready to confront the Monsoon season. After this phase the land is left for the monsoon season so that afterwards the planting of the crops could be done. After the phase of crop instigation and harvesting, the land is ready to enter into the next phase that is the regeneration of the land. As mentioned before that the land used to leave for a duration of 30 years so that the land can be used again, but due to the pressure and demand of the growing population, this duration has been diminished to only 5-6 years. Upon leaving the land for such a short period, the land is losing its worth and the ecology of the region is being damaged by these frequent re-generation. The crops are also cultivated at a double rate as it was before.


It is quite the simple phenomenon that land is depreciating with a higher rate and reaching to point of being barren soon. There should be proper regulations and measures applied, regulating the farmers to cultivate in a restrictive manner to protect the life of the land. If the demand of the growing population is not met by the historical cultivation then the next option is to import the foods from outside the country. The Jhumias should be aware of the long term consequences of burning the land too often.