Northeast India- an under rated region with great potential!


Crippled by the raging conflict between cultivable land and population explosion, the North East states may have to rely on mass production of the poor man's protein- 'pulses', besides oil-seeds and sugarcane to tackle the crises and enhance the  stream of economy for farmers in the region feels expert.

"In the last several decades the whole of NE we have lost several thousand square kilometres of fertile land to erosion and landslides. We have double problem now as we have a small area of land for cultivation and living with more number of mouths to feed," said Retd member of North East Council, CK Das.

Pointing out that the there is more people to feed and less food and  the productivity of the NE is also less than the national average, Das said, "Per capita Gross domestic product here in this region is hardly Rs 70,000 which is   equivalent to 14-15,00 dollars only. We have to increase income and go for few more crops- one is pulses because pulses is poor man's protein- second is oil-seed and the third is sugarcane production".

"We currently import oil and Karbianglong district of Assam is fit for large scale sugarcane production," he added.

Meanwhile, contrary to Das observation,  Country Representative, IFAD India, Rasha Yousef Omar said, "There is a lot of improvement in making agriculture a viable business again and we are seeing in the NE region especially in the areas where NERCOMP is working and similar improvement in agriculture productivity and agricultural income can also be seen in other parts of the country".

On the issue of farmers suicide, Omar said that  this is coming out from change in the climate pattern especially with regards to rainfall and the concentration on mono-culture and perhaps poor management of soil fertility.

Omar further said that by working together with farmers, research institutions, extension services farmers can avail information and improve soil moisture, selection of t seeds so that they go for more drought tolerant seed production and diversify their production system.

"Not only mono-culture like groundnut or cotton but to be able to intercrop it with other different crops and also integrated with livestock sector because livestock especially small ruminants is very resilient to   draught conditions and we are saying the twist is diversification of income sources, better management of soil moisture, better irrigation basically improves the productivity of the crop and income stream of the farmers," she added.

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