New farming scheme boosts Mizoram’s growth

A farming scheme that aims to benefit over 125,000 families in the state has helped boost Mizoram’s growth rate, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla says.

A farming scheme that aims to benefit over 125,000 families in the state has helped boost Mizoram’s growth rate, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said here.

With the implementation of the new farming scheme, Mizoram has registered a growth rate of 11 percent during the 11th Plan period (2007-12) against the national growth rate of 7.8 percent, Lal Thanhawla said.

An official, quoting the chief minister, told IANS Friday that the Mizoram government’s flagship scheme New Land Use Policy (NLUP) has boosted Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) growth rate to 11 percent.

“In the NLUP, over 125,000 families would be given financial assistance and training for a permanent farming instead of ‘Jhum’ cultivation,” Lal Thanhawla said while addressing a meeting of various stakeholders. 

Tribals in the northeastern states practise ‘Jhum’ or slash-and-burn method of cultivation. This shifting form of farming usually involves cutting down of entire forests in the hills and allowing the slashed vegetation to dry on mountain slopes prior to burning. Rice is grown along with vegetables, maize, cotton and mustard, among others.

Tribals constitute 27 percent of northeast India’s 45.58 million people.

The chief minister said that “the per capita income in Mizoram for the year 2010-11 at current prices is Rs.50,956 which has shown a considerable increase… evidently the economy of the state is on the rise”.

The Mizoram government launched the Rs.2,873-crore NLUP in 2010 to solve food scarcity by moving away from ‘Jhum cultivation’ to stable farming.

NLUP aims to support 125,000 “Jhumia” (shifting cultivator) families in four phases so that they settle under stable agriculture.

A major aim of NLUP is to develop and give all farmers in the state suitable, permanent and stable trades. It also aims to make all farmers self-sufficient in rice, vegetables and extend monetary help.

“Packages of activities targeting commercial farming, primary processing, promotion of livestock, pisci-culture, sericulture, plantation of cash crops and similar activities have already uplifted the economic welfare of the beneficiaries,” the chief minister said.

He added: “The Planning Commission had earlier appreciated Mizoram government for its achievements under NLUP scheme and was assured more support to carry forward the programme.”

He said that the “scheme has made significant impact on the economy by providing alternative and sustainable livelihood opportunities to farmers by reducing their dependence on jhumming”.

In the first phase of NLUP, 45,139 beneficiaries have been covered and in the ongoing second phase 45,000 families would be covered while in the third phase 19,861 tribal families are expected to be covered and in the fourth and final phase 15,000 beneficiaries would come under this scheme.

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