Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 9, pp 2136–2149 | Cite as

Shifting cultivation in Mizoram, India: An empirical study of its economic implications

  • Vishwambhar Prasad SatiEmail author


Shifting cultivation is the major occupation and the main source of income of the marginal farmers (Jhumias) in Mizoram. At present, net area sown in Mizoram State is only 5.5%, of which, 16.9% area is devoted to shifting cultivation. Meanwhile, about 54% people, living in the rural areas, are engaged in practicing it. This paper examines economic implications of shifting cultivation in Mizoram, the eastern extension of the Himalaya. A total of 16 villages from eight districts (two villages from each district), were selected for case study, based on their location and distance from the district’s headquarter. Household level survey was conducted and a purposive random sampling method was employed to select households with 34.2% sampling size. The case study reveals that production and yield of the principal crops grown under shifting cultivation has decreased during the last 17 years (2000–2017), whereas, there is a slight increase in area sown. It further shows that although, a large group of Jhumias are practicing shifting cultivation and growing subsistence cereals, yet, their economic viability is significantly less than cash crops. As a result, a large section of people in rural areas are living below poverty line. The study suggests that for sustainable livelihood, cash crops can replace subsistence crops and shifting cultivation can be converted into permanent cultivation through terracing the Jhum plots.


Shifting cultivation Jhumias Jhumlands Economic implication Empirical study Mizoram 


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This paper is an outcome of the SERB-DST awarded Extra Mural Research Project File No EMR/2017/000670 for the year 2018–2020. The author acknowledges his gratitude to SERB-DST for this valuable support.


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Resources Management, School of Earth SciencesMizoram UniversityAizawlIndia

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