INTRODUCTION:

Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. The history of agriculture dates back thousands of years, and its development has been driven and defined by greatly different climatescultures, and technologies. However, all farming generally relies on techniques to expand and maintain the lands that are suitable for raising domesticated species. This definition includes arable farming or agronomy, and horticulture, all terms for the growing of plants, animal husbandry and forestry.  

 

CULTIVABLE AREAS:

Agriculture & its allied sectors are considered to be the main occupation of the people of Manipur. It plays a vital role in the state economy by contributing a major share to the total State Domestic Product and provides employment to about 57.04% of the total workers in the State. The size of the cultivated area is only about 1.04% of the total geographical area of the State as of 2014-15[i]. Of this total cultivated area, 55.5% is confined to the valley. Therefore, the total valley area which accommodates 63.34% of the total population[ii] is mainly occupied for agriculture purposes. The pressure on land in the valley is thus quite conspicuous.

 

TYPES OF PRACTICES:

The agricultural practices in Manipur are broadly of two distinct types, viz., (i) settled (permanent) farming practiced in the plains, valleys, foothills and terraced slopes and (ii) shifting cultivation (Jhum) practiced on the hill slopes. The area under the different practices for the year 2013-14[i] is given in the table below:

Agricultural practice

Valley Area (Ha)

Hill area (Ha)

Settled (permanent)

98040

19660

Shifting cultivation (Jhum)

0

58770

Source: Statistical Year Book Manipur 2015

 

VARIETIES OF CROPS:

There are 18 (eighteen) main crops which are cultivated during the two seasons in the state. Rice cultivation dominates all others crops and it is  almost entirely mono-cropping type. About 200 endemic indigenous rice cultivars including short duration early varieties like Chonglei, Phougak, Sagoiyangba, etc., mid duration varieties like Tumai, Kumbiphou etc., deep water paddy variety like Taothabi, long duration winter varieties of rice like Phourel, Moirangphou, kakcheng-phou, and many other varieties grown are in the state.

The state also produces sizeable quantity of wheat, maize, pulses, oilseeds (mustard, groundnut, soybeans, sunflower, ginger, turmeric), fruits (pineapple, lime/lemon, banana, orange, papaya, plum) and vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, tomato, peas, carrot, pumpkin).

POTENTIALS:

With the increased in population, the requirement or demand of all crops has increased tremendously but the production of the crops has decreased. Therefore, there has been the great requirement of adoption of the high yielding varieties of seed as well as hybrid seeds over the traditional seeds. But the adoption of the high-yielding varieties (HYV) of different crops with the exception of paddy has been very slow in Manipur, especially in the hill districts.

The state government identifies the potential & importance of the commercial crops like cotton, oilseeds, sugarcane, etc., for enhancing the growth of agro-based industries in the State of Manipur. However, the existing area under cotton is negligible even as jute was grown in very small scale since time immemorial. Area under oilseeds crops varies over the years; it is still in low scale despite great potential. Lack of proper irrigation is one of the factors for set-back in oilseed cultivation.

As the major geographical extension of the state covers in different altitudes i.e. 780 – 2800 msl, the agro-ecological conditions varies from sub-tropical to sub-alpine. The state has large potential to grow various horticultural crops because of the varied agro-climatic conditions. The state has known to adaptability to many sub temperate and sub tropical crops. Most of the cultivated areas are rain fed except some area in central valley.

 

RAINFALL CONDITION:

The irregular and erratic behaviour of monsoon accompanied by inadequate irrigation infrastructure resulted in severe fluctuations in agricultural production. The decreasing trends in yield of food grains particularly rice in the last few decades render it hard to meet the demand for local consumption of the ever increasing population in the state.

Year

Rainfall (mm)

2011

1539.1

2012

1325.4

2013

1639.1

2014

1253.6

2015

1657.2

Source: ICAR, Manipur, Lamphelpat

 

PRODUCTIVITY:

The yield rate data, recorded by the State Agriculture Department reveals that the yield rate of rice has surpassed that of maize. The average yield of rice is 2706.23 kg/ha, whereas 2135.85 kg/ha is reported for maize as of 2014-15.

Imphal East district had the highest production of rice during 2014-15 i.e. 18.95% of the total rice production in the state. It was followed by Imphal West district (16.57%) and the lowest was recorded in Tamenglong district (4.18%). The largest area of rice cultivated land was recorded at Churachandpur i.e. about 16.73% of the total area of rice cultivation in the state.

 

SN

District

Production of rice for 2014-15 (‘000 tonnes)

1

Senapati

48.46

2

Tamenglong

20.19

3

Churachandpur

48.51

4

Chandel

33.58

5

 Ukhrul

25.81

6

Imphal East

91.4

7

Imphal West

79.92

8

 Bishnupur

69.47

9

Thoubal

64.91

 

TOTAL

482.25

Source: Economic survey, Manipur 2015-16

Ukhrul had produced maximum quantum of maize i.e. 5250 tonnes (46.37% of the total maize production in the state) which was followed by Senapati, producing 4720 tonnes, which accounted for 41.69% of the total production of maize in the state during 2014-15. The area for maize cultivation in Manipur during 2014-15 was recorded as 5300 ha, whereas 1,78,200 ha was for the total rice cultivation. The 3 (three) hill districts which have reported for maize production during 2014-15 are Senapati, Ukhrul and Churachandur.

 

SN

District

Yield of maize (tonnes)

1

Ukhrul

5250

2

Senapati

4720

3

Churachandpur

1350

Source: Economic survey, Manipur 2015-16

The adoption of high-yielding varieties (HYV) of different crops with the exception of paddy has been very slow in Manipur, especially in the hill districts. In 2014-15, HYV rice cultivated area was 62.02% of the total state area under paddy. And with irrigation potential created under major, medium and minor irrigation projects, double cropping is being practiced more successfully in some pockets of the valley districts in Manipur.

ALLIED SECTORS:

Besides of the agriculture practices, the main categories of livestock reared in Manipur are cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, pig, etc. Poultry farming is also widely done in the state. The farmers in the state perform livestock rearing with a view of sustainable development & self sufficiency in livestock products. But there is still a huge gap between demand and supply of these livestock products in the state. However, thermal stress effects on livestock productivity are also reported in many reports as an impact of climate change. Temperature-Humidity Index (THI) has been used to represent thermal stress due to the combined effects of air temperature and humidity. There is an all-round increase in THI in all the regions, which may impact the economic viability of livestock production systems in these regions. The highest impact is likely to be in the Coastal zones and the North-East regions where livestock rearing may become a cost-intensive affair for the marginal farmers. INCC predicted in the near future that the THI in Manipur is likely to increase between April-October months with THI > 80, which may result in severe impacts on livestock health and productivity.

There are numbers of trained private fish farmers who have now produced quality fish seeds independently through adoption of induced breeding techniques of Indian major carp  fishes like Catla, Rohu, Mrigal, exotic crops, such as Grass carp, Common carp, Silver carps etc. and even export their surplus fish seeds to the neighbouring states like Nagaland, Mizoram etc. In the hill areas, there exists a vast and varied scope for development of cold water fisheries, Aqua-culture programmes, paddy-cum-pisciculture, etc. through adoption of seed farms, riverine and running water fisheries and other infrastructure etc. for optimization of fish production in the hill districts of the State.

Climate Change Impact on Agriculture and its allied Sector:

All agricultural production is sensitive to the climatic conditions and its variability, like droughts, floods, tropical cyclones, heavy precipitation events, hot extremes and heat waves are known to negatively impact agricultural production and farmers’ livelihood. IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) and many other researchers have predicted for 10-40% loss in crop production in India by 2080-2100 as an impact of climate change, even though there are beneficial aspects of increasing CO2 in some regions.

Climate change could have positive as well as negative impacts on the agriculture and its allied sectors. Increase in temperature and CO2 concentration coupled with the change in rainfall pattern can have adverse impact on the yield of certain crops. Moreover, thermal stress, which is represented by Temperature-Humidity Index (THI), effects on livestock productivity are also mentioned in many reports as an impact of climate change. Most parts of Manipur indicated to have experienced an increase in both minimum & maximum temperature of ≥ 1.75°C and ≥ 1.5°C respectively in the last 100 years. The minimum temperature increased in Manipur is higher in absolute terms than maximum temperature increased. The average relative humidity of the state also observed to have increased during the last decades (1968-2011) i.e. 68% in 1968 to 84% in 2011. These changing trends of climate in the state could link in the decreased in crop production because rice yield can be attributed to the increase in temperature and CO2 concentration coupled with the change in rainfall pattern for the region.

Certain changes in agricultural activities in the state has been reported during the last decades which may be interpreted as an impact of climate change, like

·         changes in crop productivity, phenology and morphology, moisture stress, diminishing soil productivity,

·         majority of districts in Manipur show slight to moderate decrease in rice yields and also projected by INCC in short-term (2021-30) to decrease in Chandel and Thoubal by 3%, Imphal, Senapati, Ukhrul and Tamenglong slightly, i.e. between 0.4  to 0.1%, etc.

Sectoral Issues in Manipur:

·      Decrease in yield of rice production and less production of food grain & oilseed against requirement of food grain and oil seed;

·          Limited net area under crop production;

·         Occurrence of late monsoon, unpredictable seasonal rainfall and drought resulting into delay in rice seedling and transplanting;

·         Water inundation due to heavy rainfall during the Panicle Initiation (PI) Stage of Rice;

·         Natural devastation like flood, drought, etc.

·         Non availability of mechanical devices in time, like water pump, fuel etc.

·         Lack of Inputs – fertilizer, plant protection chemicals, etc. (due to lack of bumper stock);

·         Lack of adequate and reliable irrigation and drainage infrastructures;

·         Creeping soil acidity problems;

·         Lack of awareness as well as adequate infrastructure for sustainable agriculture practices;

·         Infrastructure gap for livestock farms.

·         Non availability of sufficient grazing & fodder grounds;

·      Difficulties in performing artificial insemination of cattle in the hill areas due to poor road connectivity and communication gap between farmers and officials;

·         Recent alarm on the marketing of the fruit reported from hill districts on the non-existing of market and low marketing prices;

·         Reduction in production of fish due to lack of technical know-how, non availability of fish feed in time, changing agro-climatic conditions, acidic in soil, etc.

·         Decreasing fresh water area for natural fish culture due to heavy siltation, infestation with aquatic weeds, encroachment & conversion into agri-lands, etc.