AGRICULTURE

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Nzhu


Cultivation is one of the main occupation of the people of this district. More than 80 per cent of the people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The main type of cultivation in this district is Jhum, which mean shifting cultivation. The cultivation is done with the help of spade and hoe and not with plough of any type because the area is hilly. It has to be noted here that bullocks or buffalo drawn plough is used in Merapani plain, Doyang valley and Baghty valley where wet rice cultivation is practiced, as in the plains of Assam. The other form of cultivation is terrace, but negligible as it is seen only in a small area. But as a result of Govt. efforts, the area under terrace is increasing.

Under the system of Jhum cultivation the selected area for cultivation is cleared of its shrubs and the smaller trees are felled which big trees are preserved. This clearing work is generally done in the month of October and November. The felled trees, slashed branches and cleared shrubs etc after drying are burned in the month of February and March. Care are taken so that the fire may not engulf the uncultivated jungles. Within a day or two the field which is burnt is cleared off the un-burnt and half burnt logs are placed orderly in such a way that the loose earth is protected from being washed away by rain water.

After the land being prepared properly, the paddy is sown in the month of March and April depending on pre monsoon showers. In spite of the practice of cultivation in monsoon, crop never fails here due to drought unlike other States of India. When ever ill distribution or insufficient rainfall may sometimes affect the growth of the crops adversely, but still the crop never fails totally. After a month of sowing the seeds, the weeding is done, two to three time till the plants are fully grown up. The paddy ripens and is ready for harvesting in August and September.

A Jhum field can be cultivated more than once if the same is sufficiently fertile and then it is kept for seven to ten years depending on the fertility of the land and availability of others land, after which the same land is cultivated again. Maize, millet and other crops such as taro, French beans, pumpkin, cucumber, bitter gourd etc. are grown along with the paddy in the same field.

Terrace cultivation is more advantageous than the Jhum, but due to hilly condition of the area terrace is not practiced every where in the district. In spite of this people are trying their best to find purpose of terrace cultivation water is brought from a nearby stream to the field for cultivation during the rainy season. Sometimes water from road side nalla is also channel to the terrace field. When the field is thus ready, the paddy plants are pulled out from the seed bed and planted in the field, this is done in June July.

The water is allowed to remain in the field the whole period of the growth of the plants, and just before harvesting the water are drain out. Harvesting is done in the month of October November. Unlike Jhum no other crops are grown along with paddy in the terrace.

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