1. Jhum cultivation: pros and cons
    1. Favor of Jhum cultivation
    2. Against Jhum cultivation
  2. Agri. Ministry: Rabi crop reforms
  3. Neera Sap
  4. New hybrids: Tea and Banana

Jhum cultivation: pros and cons

of course we all know what is Jhuming but topic in news, because someone wrote an article in Thehindu to glamorize jhuming technique.
What is Jhum cultivation?

  • Farmers slash and burn a patch of land, start growing food crops.
  • When soil fertility declines they shift to another place, burning the jungle again.
  • For various names for Jhum, refer to NCERT Geography class 10, chapter 4.

Favor of Jhum cultivation

  1. Uses forest’s natural cycle of regeneration.
  2. Organic farming, doesn’t use pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Trees burned to provide potash to the soil
  3. Cooperation: after jhuming, the land distributed among farmers.
  4. Jhum causes only temporary loss of jungle. Because once monsoon over, the farmers abandon the land. Jungle regenerates quickly.
  5. The Jhum cycle normally runs for around 6-10 years. i.e. when farmers return to the same patch of land and burn forest again.
  6. During those 6-10 years, same jungle provide forest produce to the tribals.
  7. Contrary to that, monoculture plantation causes permanent loss of forest, due to chemical inputs.
  8. so once, you cut down a forest to raise monoculture plantation, you cannot reconvert the same land into natural forest again.
  9. Jhuming done in steep hill slopes where sedentary cultivation not possible. So it’s a reflex to physiographical characters of the North east.
  10. overall, Jhum economically productive + ecologically sustainable

(~150 words)

Against Jhum cultivation

  1. If you leave the jungle for ten years, it’ll regenerate. But nowadays farmers come back in jut ~5 years. Not enough time for the forest to regenerate.
  2. North eastern forest are major carbon sinks, home to biodiversity. Must be protected.
  3. Jhum farming families always suffer food, fuel and fodder problems, leading to poverty and malnutrition.
  4. tons of biomass gets loss due to burning of tress.
  5. Tree burning leads to:
    1. higher  CO2, NO2 and other Greenhouse gases (GHGs). This wasn’t an issue in ancient times (when there was no industrialization). But we cannot afford more GHG in modern era.
    2. higher run off of rainwater. hence draught, drinking water shortage.
    3. we cannot find oaks, bamboo and teak forests in many regions of North East- only deciduous scrubs left. this erodes biodiversity of the region.
    4. soil erosion, siltation in dams.

(~150 words)

Agri. Ministry: Rabi crop reforms

  • We import edible oil worth ~60,000 crores per year.
  • Last year, delayed rainfall led to less cultivation of oilseeds.
  • Therefore, agriculture ministry has suggested following reforms for this Rabi season
  • However, hope of sowing coverage for oilseeds crops during rabi sowing has been raised, due to recent delay in rains.
  • Suggestions from Agro-ministry to states for sowing of oil-seeds
States Oil-seed crops duration
Rainfed areas of Assam, Chattisgarh, Eastern UP and Bihar rapeseeds/mustard After paddy crop
Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra  linseed and safflower After kharif crops
Haryana, Punjab, Western UP and Bihar sunflower After Rabi crops
Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Ground nut During rabi


  • The oilseeds crops can be cultivated very easily as an inter-crop.
  • This will increase farmers’ income + socio-economic status.
  • Less dependence on import of edible oil.

Neera Sap

  • Neera / Kalprasa is the sweet sap tapped from the coconut spathe
  • Good for diaebetic patients, because coconut sugar has low glycemic index.
  • Usage: ready-to-serve drink. Or making sugar without lime.
  • Why in news? Because Coconut Development Board (CDB) of the Agriculture Ministry.
  • They want to promote Neera as a ‘health drink’.
  • At present, only Kerala is tapping the Neera sap.
  • But with Government support, this segment can create ~25 lakh new jobs and increase farmers’ income by 10 times.
Potential market Our competitors
US, Canada, Norway, S.Korea etc countries with of “high income health conscious juntaa”. Indonesia, Thailand, Srilanka, Philippines

New hybrids: Tea and Banana

  • New hybrid of Banana.
  • By National research centre for Banana
  • High yield even on marginal lands.
  • Tolerant to leaf spot, wilt and other dieases.
  • Tea clone variety
  • By tea research association.
  • 35% higher yield than previous version TTRI-1.

Mock Questions

Q. Consider following statements about jhum cultivation

  1. When cycle of shifting cultivation becomes shorter, the biomass of the soil increases.
  2. In Jhuming, trees are burnt to provide potash nutrient to the soil.
  3. In theory, jhuming is less harmful to ecology than monoculture plantations.
  4. Tribals of Andaman-nicobar donot use jhuming or slash-n-burn technique.

Answer choices

  1. only 1, 2 and 4
  2. only 2 and 4
  3. only 2 and 3
  4. only 2, 3 and 4

Descriptive Question: Jhum cultivation, though primitive in methods, is an ancient way of keeping harmony with nature.” Comment (200 words.)