Vol. 8 No. 1
Resource conservation through indigenous farming system in hills of West Bengal
Author(s): D. MUKHERJEE
Abstract: A study was conducted during 2007-10 to determine the various indigenous methodology use under various farming system in Darjeeling-Sikkim hills. The data on traditional practices of the indigenous agriculture primary data were collected through semi-structured interview schedules and discussions with farmers and key informants who are located at different places. A variety of crops are planted ranging from maize, vegetables like cabbages, potatoes, squash, coriander and chillies. Villages on the bottom of the hills and near the bank of the river have relatively more irrigated flat and level terraced lands usually cut into the valley side slopes. In such surroundings, fewer livestock are seen which tend to be tethered and grazed within the vicinity of the households and farmers make compost with animal bedding and forest litter. In the high elevations, villages have few irrigated lands but more widely rainfed terraces. Every year, farmers grow 2 crops of maize, millet, barley, wheat, and a variety of other crops on rainfed lowland below 2300 m. Other indigenous farming practices which are very location specific is the indigenous farming systems (IFS), which includes rice-based farming system consists of wet rice terrace cultivation integrated with fish culture, finger millets and conservation of forest areas. Resource conservation through IFS by traditional knowledge includes: sustainable land use planning; agroforestry practices (cardemom-based agroforestry system, Jhum system of cultivation, and Zabo farming system); management of water; and livestock-based farming.
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