BENREU AND ITS CULTIVATORS

Updated: Aug 10, 2019

a brief account on highland farmers from the North-east and their paddy fields that embody traditional agricultural wisdom tuned to the rhythm of nature

Nagaland is predominantly an agricultural state. Seventy-three percent of the people in state are engaged in agriculture. Like in any other tribal area, the traditional agriculture practices of Nagaland are intertwined with nature and closely connect people with their ecosystem. The practices of the farming communities in the region are strongly based on the principles of regenerative agriculture, emphasizing on conservation of biodiversity, maintaining eco-system processes and preserving a mix of indigenous crop varieties and plants.

These traditional farming systems have emerged from centuries of cultural and biological evolution. They represent accumulated experiences of indigenous farmers interacting with the environment without the help of external inputs, capital, equipment or modern scientific knowledge. They reveal an acute awareness of the rhythm of nature, the fluid mosaic of site-specific factors like water flows, soil types, slopes and the adaptability of different types of vegetation to these situations. Knowledge here is passed on orally from generation to generation with limited formal documentation of this natural wisdom. With the onslaught of new technologies, crops and agricultural practices, these knowledge systems are on the brink of disappearing. We need to systematically document the organizing principles of such practices to see how they can be preserved and carried forw