In pics: Terrace rice cultivation begins in Nagaland, farmers hope for more rain

Kohima: After ten years, Nagaland is witnessing a drought-like situation due to delayed and erratic rains. However, in the past few days, light to moderate rain with few heavy spells across parts of the state have made it possible for farmers to begin terrace rice cultivation (TRC).

The terrace (wet) cultivation, which is predominantly practised by the Angamis Nagas and Chakhesang Nagas in Kohima and Phek districts respectively, depends on the climatic conditions. In Kohima district, the southern region usually begins planting by May, while in the Northern region it begins by July.

Due to the deficient rains across parts of the state this year, there has been a delay in land preparation and sowing. However, with moderate rain in the past few days, farmers from Kigwema village, located south of Kohima district, have begun terrace cultivation.

“Out here, most of us have water in the fields. The majority of our fields have been planted, especially those in the hills and near the streams,” a resident from the village tells EastMojo. He pointed out that his village was at an advantage since it is between the hills.

“But still, there is a need for more water for cultivation. Hope and pray that summer rain will come soon in fulfilling our farmers wish,” the resident added.
In the Northern region of the district, some farmers are preparing the terraced fields, while others have completed the land preparation and are waiting for more rains.

“As it has been raining from time to time for some days, we are preparing the terrace field now since the soil has softened. But there is no water to start planting as of now,” a farmer from Zhadima village, located to the North of Kohima, said.

Another farmer from the same village who completed the land preparation said “Water channels have been cleared, our fields are prepared and are all set for plantation. We are only hoping for the rain to begin work”.

As reported earlier, out of the state’s total population, over 70% are dependent on agriculture for sustenance. Terrace cultivation (70%) and Jhum cultivation (30%) and the two types of agriculture practised in the state.

State officials had warned that if the shortfall of rain continues till July, farmers across the state will fail to undertake cultivation activities. Rice production from the state, which was at 5.51 lakh million tonnes (MT) in 2020-21, is expected to decrease to 1.66 Lakh MT this year.

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