Towards sustainability: Arunachal’s Apatanis use a unique, integrated cultivation method; it needs encouragement

Source: The post is based on the article “Towards sustainability: Arunachal’s Apatanis use a unique, integrated cultivation method; it needs encouragement” published in Down To Earth on 17th February 2023

What is the News?

The Apatanis Tribe from Arunachal Pradesh practices a distinctive form of agriculture where rice and fish are grown together.

About Apatani Tribe

The Apatani tribe is one of the major ethnic groups of the eastern Himalayas, Arunachal Pradesh.

The major festivals of Apatanis are the Myoko, Dree, Yapung and Murung. People here believe that these traditional festivals ensure better productivity and well-being.

Apatanis are known for their effective traditional village council called bulyañ which supervises, guides and has legal oversight over the activities of individuals that affect the community as a whole. 

They work by addressing the conscience of the people rather than by instilling fear of the law and by promoting the prevention of unlawful activities rather than by punitive actions. 

Click Here to read more

What is the Integrated rice-fish cultivation practised by Apatani Tribe?

Apatanis practice a unique form of agriculture called Integrated rice-fish cultivation where rice and fish are grown together. This is a low-input and eco-friendly practice.

In this type of cultivation, fish almost depend on the natural food sources of the rice fields and thus, farmers hardly need to use any supplementary fish feeds.

– The farmers sometimes use household and agricultural wastes and excreta of domestic animals like pigs, cows, and goats to make farming more sustainable and organic.

Source of irrigation: The water sources in these high-altitude rice fields are mountain streams and rainwater dripped down during the monsoon season. Bamboo pipes are being used to distribute water from the networks of earthen irrigation channels.

Tools: Ancient and old-fashioned agricultural technologies are utilized for cultivation. Modern tools like tractors and power tillers are not affordable as well as inaccessible to the farmers.

Benefits: Fish improves rice productivity (by 10-15%) by controlling the growth of algae, weeds and insects, providing nutrient input through fish excreta and promoting tillering of the rice through the movement of fish inside the field.

Print Friendly and PDF