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Jhum farmers start harvesting paddy in Rangamati

  • Published at 11:27 pm November 4th, 2019
jhum cultivation
Jhum farmers in Rangamati are harvesting paddy Dhaka Tribune

Indigenous people of the district prepare their fields and sow seeds in April, and harvest the crop from September to November

Jhum farmers including women of Rangamati district have started harvesting paddy, expecting a plentiful yield at the end of the harvest, bringing a smile on their face.

At least, 5960 hectares of land of 10 upazilas were prepared for Jhum cultivation. The upazilas are: Bagaichhari, Belaichhari , Juraichhari, Kaptai, Langadu, Naniarchar, Rajasthali, Kawkhali, Barkal, and Rangamati Sadar Upazila.

1.14 metric ton paddy will be harvested per hectare, fulfilling the total target of 6794 metric tons this season, according to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) of the district.

Indigenous people of the district prepare their fields and sow seeds in April, and harvest the crop from September to November.

During a recent visit to these areas, our correspondent talked to several jhum farmers of indigenous community, and they expressed their satisfaction with the bumper production.

Buddha Chakma from Rangamati sadar upazila told that they were hoping to get a good deal of paddy this season, adding, ''I also cultivated turmeric this year.''

Another jhum farmer, Nanabi Tanchonga said that he used one and a half acres land for paddy cultivation, and is expecting a handsome amount of money after the crops are sold this year.

Smriti Chakma of Shukurchari village of Rangamati Sadar echoed the same, adding that if they would get proper cooperation from the  Department of Agricultural Extension(DAE) in future, paddy along with other crops could be produced in abundance.

She also mentioned that favourable weather helped increase the paddy production. 

Paban Chakma, Deputy-Director of Rangamati Department of Agricultural Extension(DAE), said: "Jhum cultivation is an age old tradition of indigenous farmers. Most of the indigenous people are living through jhum cultivation. Last year, 5930 hectares of land were used for jhum paddy cultivation, where 1.3 metric tons of paddy were produced in every hectare.''

He also added that due to the utilization of modern methods in jhum cultivation this year, higher production would  be expected.

Apart from paddy, jhum farmers are also reaping various varieties of crops including sesame, maize, barley, and green chilli  in the region, for the current season.

Jhum cultivation, also known as shifting cultivation, is a local name for slash and burn agriculture practiced by the indigenous communities in mountainous areas. This system involves clearing a piece of land by setting fire or clear felling, and using the area for growing crops of agricultural importance such as upland rice, vegetables or fruits.