Poor farmers in Tamenglong district of Manipur, who depend on farming as their major source of livelihood, have long been suffering the impact of climate change.
The region has been witnessing untimely and frequent rains even during the dry season. Despite the unfavourable weather condition, poor farmers in the villages continue to carry out clearing of forest areas for cultivation of paddy and other crops for their survival.
While some farmers have completed clearing of forest land for cultivation, others are still clearing the forest land and other farmers are yet to start the farming process.
One farmer from Namkaolong (Keikao) village said the cultivation process for his fields began in December. However, he could not continue clearing the land for his field due to untimely frequent rainfalls during this winter months. Owing to the wet weather, he could not carry out the process of burning the forest clearance to start cultivation.
Villagers in Tousem area told this correspondent that they could not finish clearing the forest land for paddy field due to early rainfall. In Tamei area too, some are still clearing the forest for cultivation of land.
Meanwhile, Longjon village authority chairman Reuben told this correspondent that many of his villagers are still clearing the forest areas braving the rains as they cannot sit idle at home.
He appealed to the state government to find ways and means to help the poor farmers in the village, as they could carry out the cultivation activities properly. Poor farmers in the villages are solely dependent on jhuming cultivation, they need a sustainable development package for their livelihood, he said.
It may be worth mentioning that with the introduction of different development packages like MGNREGS, many farmers have reduced the size of their fields and some villagers even stopped farming.