Jorhat, Sept. 19: The “profitable” agro-forestry model developed at the Rain Forest Research Institute (RFRI) here has received overwhelming response after it was introduced early this year in an area in Tripura where people practise jhum cultivation.
From one farmer of Depechhera, who was shown how to intercrop broom grass with arhar dal, 33 farmers of the area will meet tomorrow to adopt this method.
The Centre for Forest based Livelihoods and Extension (CFLE) at Gandhigram in Tripura introduced the model at Depechhera under the “direct to consumer” scheme of the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE). Depechhera is located near Pecharthal in North Tripura, 180km from Gandhigram in Agartala. Both RFRI and CFLE function under the ICFRE, Dehradun.
Birala Chakma, the farmer who was first shown how to intercrop, told this correspondent over phone from Depachhera that he expected a profit of Rs 2 lakh from a plot of land, measuring slightly over one hectare, in 10 months.
“I am very pleased with the way the two plants are growing together on the hillside, where I earlier cultivated paddy, vegetables and other plants by the jhum method. I am expecting a hefty profit by the end of this year and more next year from the same number of plants,” he added.
“Tomorrow, 33 of the 51 families in our village will meet to discuss how they can adopt this model. About 80 per cent of jhum area in our village will be put under this cultivation,” he said.
In Tripura, broom grass, which goes into making phuljharu, grows all over the state.
The density of its growth varies with the topography. It is commonly found on hill slopes and grows well in the rocky structure of the damp steep banks along ravines and on sandy banks of the rivers.
Senior scientist and regional director (extension), CFLE, Pawan Kaushik, said intercropping could be a profitable enterprise and had great potential in increasing rural income as the plants could also grow extensively on jhum-degraded fallow land.
Kaushik, who had developed the intercropping model at RFRI, said the practice did not need establishment cost every year and would yield a profit of at least Rs 1.5 lakh in 10 months.