From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Podu, Shifting cultivation
Mains level : Not Much
The Telangana government has decided to move landless, non-tribal farmers engaged in Podu shifting cultivation inside forests to peripheral areas as it looks to combat deforestation.
What is Shifting Cultivation?
- Shifting cultivation is a form of agriculture or a cultivation system, in which, at any particular point in time, a minority of ‘fields’ are in cultivation and a majority are in various stages of natural re-growth.
- Over time, fields are cultivated for a relatively short time, and allowed to recover, or are fallowed, for a relatively long time.
- Eventually, a previously cultivated field will be cleared of the natural vegetation and planted in crops again.
- Fields in established and stable shifting cultivation systems are cultivated and fallowed cyclically.
- This type of farming is also called jhumming in India.
What is Podu?
- Podu is a traditional system of cultivation used by tribes in India, whereby different areas of jungle forest are cleared by burning each year to provide land for crops.
- The word comes from the Telugu language.
- Podu is a form of shifting agriculture using slash-and-burn methods.
Issue in Telangana
- Shifting cultivation continues to be a predominant agricultural practice in many parts of India, despite state discouragement and multipronged efforts.
- Telangana government has red-flagged encroachment of forests by non-tribals, who are indulging in the practice of shifting agriculture (podu).
- Several political leaders have raised the issues of shifting agriculture and deforestation wherein encroachers clear a portion of land.
- The government now wants to shift out all farmers from the forests to the periphery by allotting lands to them for cultivation.
Impact of the move
- Tribal farmers who have been traditionally cultivating for decades will not be affected by this drive against illegal encroachers.
- The government has, in fact, given land ownership titles to tribals.
- Other encroaching farmers will be shifted out.
Back2Basics: Various shifting cultivation in India
|Type||Place of practice|
|Vevar and Dahiyaar||Bundelkhand Region (Madhya Pradesh)|
|Deepa||Bastar District (Madhya Pradesh)|
|Zara and Erka||Southern States|
|Kumari||Hilly Region of the Western Ghats of Kerala|
|Kaman, Vinga and Dhavi||Odisha|