DIMAPUR, May 2 � With 70 per cent of the population of Nagaland dependant on agriculture as a means of livelihood and sustenance, Nagas still practise large-scale jhum (shifting cultivation) and terrace cultivation which is dependant on rainfall in spite of technological advancements.
Despite repeated notifications by departments concerned to stop forest burning, people continue to burn and clear vast tracts of land and this directly impacts the climate as well as soil fertility which, in turn, adversely affect agricultural production.
The agricultural practices that result in clearing of land and forest burning speed up the process of the impact of global warming as a direct consequence.
The impact of global warming is here to stay and the variations and variability in climatic condition of the State will have far reaching consequences in the near future as is evident from the heat, drying streams and acute water scarcity.
Continued felling of trees for fuel coupled with forest burning has given rise to the twin problem of rise in temperature and shortage of water.
The State, which boasts of rich flora and fauna and favourable condition for agricultural growth, is fast depleting its storehouse of natural resources.
Jhuming or shifting cultivation is still practiced in the districts of Mon, Tuensang and Longleng. But, on an optimistic note, districts like Kohima and Phek are now focusing on settled cultivation which is more productive as cultivation is intensive in this practice. With this perspective in mind, the Agriculture department is trying to convert areas where shifting cultivation is practiced into settled cultivation areas.
According to sources, although there was drastic decrease in agricultural produce in 2009 due to drought-like situation as a result of scanty rainfall, this year the department is expecting higher production. People are now increasingly turning to commercial crops and diversifying produce which is more economically viable.
Nagaland has a rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources and if properly sustained, the State has all the potential of being a tourist hub replete with tradition and visible signs of technological advancements.