A 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.
Q 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.
Q 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.
Q What is 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.
Q What will be 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.
Q What are other various shifting practices in India ?