Stretching Rubber Extension in the Northeast
Mr. Longshithung Lotha (44) is a postgraduate in agricultural science from Dimapur, Nagaland. He says that Jhum (roving) cultivation has been practised by local tribal residents in his native place and other villages.
This method was not only having an adverse impact on the ecosystem but also affected the production and productivity of agriculture. Mr. Lotha says, “Being a qualified agriculturist, I wanted to stop this practice and introduce settled agriculture that not only improved the farmers’ income but also suited the sustenance of the ecosystem”.
Since the last 10 years, Mr. Lotha has been involved in planting mandarin oranges, bamboo, and agar on barren land through the Nagaland Bio-Resource Mission (NBRM). He conducted a training session on rubber tapping, the first of its kind in his area.
In 2013, he resigned from his job at the NBRM and enrolled for the two-month free residential training under the Agri- Clinics and Centres (AC&ABC) scheme at North East Naga Traders Private Limited, Dimapur, Nagaland (NAG-NENTP).
With the aim of improving agricultural income and putting an end to the traditional Jhum cultivation, he registered a firm as Green & Blue Rubber Producer Society, Pyangsa Village, Nagaland. Having realised the value of rubber plantation, today 200 rubber growers are attached to the society.
Earlier, the tribal community were depending only on paddy cultivation or collection of forest produce, whereas now they are able to earn Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 90,000 every year from each acre of rubber plantation.
Since 2014, the society is engaged in organising seminars, training, field visits method demonstrations, and motivating the tribal community to take up rubber plantation.
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