Agriculture of Nagaland

Agriculture of Nagaland

  • Nagaland, the smallest hilly state situated at the extreme northeastern end of India, lies between 25° 6′ and 27° 4′ latitude, North of Equator and between the Longitudinal line 93° 20’ E and 95° 15’E.
  • The state shares its boundary with Assam on the West, Myanmar on the East, Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Assam on the North and Manipur on the South.
  • One prominent feature of traditional agriculture practices in Nagaland is its high degree of agro-biodiversity.
  • This high agro-biodiversity evolved through exploitation of local site factors, consideration of food security for the family, judicious selection of crops and varieties for cultivation, diversified forms of traditional agricultural systems and in recent years, the cash income generating possibilities.
  • There are four diversified forms of traditional agriculture practiced by the rural villagers of Nagaland: the Jhum (Shifting Cultivation) System, Terrace Rice Cultivation (TRC), Firewood Reserve Forests and Home Gardens.

Agro-Climatic Zones

  • In general, Nagaland has a typical monsoon climate with variants ranging from tropical to temperate conditions.
  • In the plains and low altitudes, the temperatures remains high almost throughout the year excepting the month of December and January, and in the hills and higher altitudes the temperature remain low.
  • The climate is quite invigorating throughout the year. The year is divided into four seasons: Winter, Pre-monsoon, Monsoon and Retreading Monsoon.
  • For agriculture purpose, it is divided into two seasons : Winter (Rabi) and Summer (Kharif)
  1. Sub Alpine temperate zone (1500-3500m MSL)
  2. Sub tropical Hill Zone (1000-1500m MSL)
  3. Sub tropical Plain zone (400-1000m MSL)
  4. Mild tropical Hill zone (200-800m MSL)

Land Use Pattern

  • The total geographical area of the State is 16,57,900 Ha. Out of which 7, 22,464 Ha. are under cultivable area which comes to 43.58%.
  • The major land use pattern is slash and burn cultivation locally known as
  • The Angami and Chakesang tribes have on the other hand, developed a system of Wet Terrace Rice Cultivation (WTRC) which is practiced alongside jhum cultivation.
  • Besides, there are other land use systems such as Horticulture and Agro-forestry, which are of recent origin.
  • The combination of horticultural crops with forestry will ensure parmenent plant cover on hill-slops.

Feature of Agriculture of Nagaland

  • Nagaland has basically an agricultural economy.
  • Over 70% of the population is dependent on Agriculture of Nagaland.
  • The main crops are rice, millet, maize and pulses.
  • Cash crops like sugarcane and potato are also becoming popular.
  • Coffee, cardamom and tea are grown as plantation crops in Nagaland.
  • Rice is the dominant crop and also the staple diet of the people, of the gross cropped area under food grains, rice accounts for about 84.4%.
  • Oil seeds are also an important crop which includes Rapeseed, mustard etc.
  • Coffee cardamom and tea are grown as plantation crops in Nagaland.
  • Principal crops are Arums, yams, millet, maize, potatoes and sugarcane. Vegetable crops are melon, cucumbers, spinach leaf, mustard, onion, chillies, carrots, tomatoes, brinjal etc.
  • The two methods of cultivation among the Naga tribes are jhuming and terrace cultivation.
  • The area under jhum cultivation is about 87.339 hectares and under terraced cultivation is about 62,091 hectares.

Jhum Cultivition of Agriculture of Nagaland

  • In jhuming, the individual parcels out his field into a number of plots and cultivates a particular plot for one or two years.
  • In the following year, he shifts to the next plot and that also is cultivated for the same period. In this way, after the rotation is completed, the first plot is taken up again.
  • The jungle is felled and burnt and the crops are sown on the ground fertilized by ashes.
  • The complete rotation of plots may take between six to ten years depending upon the acreage of the field.
  • The longer this duration is, the more fertile the soil becomes and better the crops are, this method of cultivation is in vogue among the Semas, Aos and Lothas.
  • Jhuming has its obvious disadvantages. A large area of land is required for cultivation. Besides, the crops is dependent on rainfall.

Terrace Cultivation of Agriculture of Nagaland

  • A more modern method is that of preparing terraced fields.
  • The Angamis are experts in this art.
  • The complete hillside is cut, beautiful terraces whose width would depend up on the gradient of the feature, are made.
  • The fields are irrigated by a net work of water channels.
  • Normally the terraces are so graduated that water flows down conveniently from one terrace to the other below it, and so on.
  • Bamboo pipes are used to regulate the flow of water.
  • The excavating of the terraces requires a colossal effort, and one marvels at the amount of human energy expended in cutting them into shape, but these terraced fields, once prepared, are much easier to maintain than the jhum plots.
  • They have also the advantage of being closer to the village site.
  • The State Government is trying to persuade the villagers to change over from jhuming to terracing.
  • The Government is in fact, making all out efforts to improve the agriculture.
  • It has under taken a number of irrigation projects, supplied pumping set to farmers, started community Development projects, set up seed farms and established an agricultural research centre.
  • As a result of these measures, there has already been a sustained increase in the tonnage of rice produced.

Agriculture of Nagaland

Crop Rotations:

  1. Paddy- Mustard
  2. Paddy- maize
  3. Paddy- linseed
  4. Maize – Black gram
  5. Soybean –fallow
  6. Paddy-cabbage
  7. Maize- winter vegetables
  8. Cucurbits – winter vegetables
  9. Paddy –fallow
  10. Maize –fallow
  11. Ginger –fallow

Crop Sequences:

  1. Paddy followed by Mustard
  2. Paddy followed by maize
  3. Paddy followed by linseed
  4. Maize followed by Black gram
  5. Soybean followed by fallow
  6. Paddy followed by cabbage
  7. Maize followed by winter vegetables
  8. Cucurbits followed by winter vegetables
  9. Paddy mono crop
  10. Maize mono crop
  11. Ginger mono crops


Inter Cropping: Jhum paddy maize, colocasia, soybean, cucurbits

Mixed Cropping Jhum paddy maize, colocasia, soybean, cucurbits

Cash Crops: Cotton Sugarcane, Jute, Tea, Coriander


  • Cultivation of rice requires hot and moist climate.
  • It is a Kharief crop and is sown in March-April and harvested in Autumn.
  • Sufficient water must cover the fields.
  • Temperature: Rice requires hot and humid conditions. The temperature should be fairly high i.e. 24°C mean monthly temperature with average temperature of 22°C to 32°C.
  • Rainfall: Rainfall ranging between 150-300 cm is suitable for its growth, where rainfall is less than 100 cm, rice is cultivated with the help of irrigation.
  • Soil: Rice is grown in varied soil conditions but deep clayey and loamy soil provides the ideal conditions.


  • It requires hot dry climate.
  • Rainfall required for maize varies from 75 cms to 125 cms.
  • It is sown in May-July and harvested in August-November

Salient Features of  Indian/Agriculture of Nagaland

  1. Subsistence Agriculture of Nagaland: Most parts of India have subsistence agriculture. This type of Agriculture of Nagaland has been practised in India for several hundreds of years and still prevails in a larger part of India in spite of the large scale change in agricultural practices after independence.
  2. Pressure of population on Agriculture of Nagaland : Despite increase in urbanization and industrialization, about 70% of population is still directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture.
  3. Mechanization of farming: Green Revolution took place in India in the late sixties and early seventies. After more than forty years of Green Revolution and revolution in agricultural machinery and equipments, complete mechanization is still a distant dream
  4. Dependence upon monsoon: Since independence, there has been a rapid expansion of irrigation infrastructure. Despite the large scale expansion, only about one third of total cropped area is irrigated today. As a consequence, two third of cropped areas is still dependent upon monsoon. Monsoon in India is uncertain and unreliable. This has become even more unreliable due to change in climate.
  5. Variety of crops: India has diversity of topography, climate and soil. Since India has both tropical and temperate climate, crops of both the climate are found in India. There are very few countries in the world that have variety comparable to that of India..
  6. Predominance of food crops: Since Indian agriculture has to feed a large population, production of food crops is the first priority of the farmers almost everywhere in the country. However, in recent years, there has been a decline in the share of land used for food crops due to various other commercially most advantageous uses of this land.
  7. Seasonal patterns: India has three distinct agricultural/cropping seasons. You might have heard about kharif, rabi and zaid. In India there are specific crops grown in these three seasons. For example rice is a kharif crop whereas wheat is a rabi crop.


Challenges are faced by farmers

Farmers of our country are facing lot of problems regarding agricultural production of crop. Few of them are shortlisted below:

  • Uncertain weather
  • Uneven water availability
  • Lesser yield
  • Low quality crops
  • Lack of soil nutrients
  • Buyer’s monopoly
  • Less cash in hand
  • Less scientific guidance during agricultural
  • Less information regarding selection of crop seed
  • Inadequate information of plant root moisture holding capacity
  • Less information of scientific irrigation process for maximum yield
  • Less aware of the market and growing technology


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