Land Pol­icy Ben­e­fits

India Today - - THE STATE OF THE STATES - By Kaushik Deka

Kapzela C., a 64-year-old farmer from Aizawl, would only get a yield of 1,500 kg paddy from his six bigha farm land. In the last two years, his paddy pro­duce has gone up to 3,000 kg. He even suc­cess­fully ex­per­i­mented with win­ter crops this year, grow­ing 2,000 kg of cab­bages and 400 kg of onions by cul­ti­vat­ing just half a bigha. In 2012, he plans to sow onions in win­ter in the whole farm. “Like many oth­ers, I used to do jhum (slash-and-burn) cul­ti­va­tion. Govern­ment of­fi­cials first per­suaded me to take to ter­race agri­cul­ture, which helps con­serve soil and main­tain­ing fer­til­ity. It pro­tects the for­est cover too. I’m now a re­spon­si­ble farmer,” says Kapzela.

Mi­zo­ram’s flag­ship New Land Use Pol­icy ( NLUP) for agri­cul­ture and al­lied sec­tors in­tro­duced in 2009 has changed the lives of farm­ers such as Kapzela. As the state suf­fers from water scarcity, farm­ers are pro­vided funds to build water har­vest­ing struc­tures and given free ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­ity through drip or mi­cro sprin­kler sys­tem. “I did not have to worry about any­thing. I got even the slake lime, which is used to re­duce the acid­ity of the farm land, free from govern­ment,” says Kapzela.

The govern­ment’s Wa­ter­shed De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme for Shift­ing Cul­ti­va­tion Ar­eas un­der NLUP not only en­cour­ages farm­ers to shift from jhum to wet rice cul­ti­va­tion ( WRC) or ter­race agri­cul­ture but of­fers as­sis­tance of Rs 1 lakh to those whose only source of in­come is farm­ing. Be­tween 2010 and 2011, the govern­ment dis­trib­uted 350 power tillers at 75 per cent sub­sidy and 50 trac­tors with as­sis­tance of up to Rs 2 lakh.

The re­sults are show­ing. The area un­der jhum cul­ti­va­tion has de­creased from 44,947 hectares in 2007 to 28,735 in 2011. The WRC area has in­creased from 9,594 hectares in 2007 to 12,130 hectares in 2011. The state pro­duced 52,000 met­ric tonnes of rice this year, a 10 per cent in­crease over pro­duc­tion in 2010-11.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter H. Lian­sailova is push­ing for more. “There is still a 75 per cent gap be­tween to­tal rice pro­duc­tion and to­tal de­mand in the state, where 60 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion is de­pen­dent on agri­cul­ture. We need to nar­row it sig­nif­i­cantly,” he says.


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