1. Agriculture World

Shifting Cultivation Could Soon Obtain Legal Stamp

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo
shifting cultivation

Shifting cultivation, an ancient practice in several parts of India, can soon get legal backing as the Centre is planning to define land use that will enable such growers’ access credit along with agriculture-related benefits including subsidies.

In India, we have around 1.73 million hectares under shifting cultivation, where plots of land are cultivated provisionally and then neglected for years so that the land becomes productive again. In this activity, an estimated 6.23 lakh families are involved, 90 percent of which are in the Northeast based on 2003 data.

These cultivators are often denied for funds because, without land titles, they are unable to give the land as collateral for loans.


Centre’s move, which is headed by the NITI Aayog, is aimed at supporting this type of cultivation to help restore the fertility of land naturally and ensure that farmers of Jhum, a term used for shifting cultivation in the Northeast, have ample employment opportunities.

A senior official told ET that a comprehensive policy related to shifting cultivation is being firmed up to identify the land used for shifting cultivation as agricultural land where growers practice agro-forestry for the production of food.

The official added that “Defining land use would ensure that farmers have income-generation & entrepreneurial opportunities through access of credit”.

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