Shifting cultivation (jhum) in the chittagong hill tracts, Bangladesh: Examining its sustainability, rural livelihood and policy implications

Tapan Kumar Nath, M. Inoue, S. Chakma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the trend of dwindling productivity, tribal people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) still practise shifting cultivation as a dominant hill farming system to support their livelihood. Drawing on an empirical study in Khagrachari district of the CHT, this research examined how far the production from present shifting cultivation supports the tribal people's livelihood and what alternative livelihood strategies they have adopted for subsistence by using data on input/output and income/expenditures, and analysing current government policies. The findings showed that productivity declined markedly, yields were almost equal to input values and farmers experienced food shortages for at least two to six months in a year. To make a living, farmers have adopted new occupations such as wage labour, animal husbandry, cultivation of annual monocrops and extraction and selling of forest products. Policy analysis indicates that previous policies were unable to reduce shifting cultivation intensity or improve tribal people's livelihoods or the region's forest resources. Reorientation of government policies, easy access to institutional support and the active participation of local people in development intervention are of the utmost importance in order to find alternative land uses for sustainable hill farming, to improve the farmer's living standards and to conserve forests and protect watersheds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)130-142
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Agroforestry
  • Bangladesh
  • Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)
  • Policy
  • Shifting cultivation
  • Tribal people

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Economics and Econometrics

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