Arunachal Pradesh is an Agrarian State where more than 70 percent population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. The State is gifted with enormous natural resources and suitable agro-climatic zones. Agriculture, therefore, continues to be central to all strategies for planned socio-economic development of the state. Rapid growth of Agriculture is essential not only to achieve self-reliance but also to ensure household food security and to bring about equity in distribution of income& wealth resulting in rapid reduction in poverty levels.
The State has a geographical area of 83743 Km2, inhabited by appx.1.4 million people (2011), became a full-fledged state on February 20,1987. Prior to this, till 1972, it was known as North-East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and got Union Territory status on January,20,1972 and renamed as Arunachal Pradesh. Effective governance is provided through 22 districts covering 3863 villages.
Population density is 17 per Km2. The state has its international boundary of 1928 Km with Bhutan, China and Myanmar.The state is a rich treasure of plant agro-biodiversity which supports growing of about 70 crop species to feed the human population. Crop biodiversity of the state is a key factor to its sustainable food supply system. About 134 species are consumed by the people of the state (Maikhuri & Ramakrishnan, 1992).
An enormous crop genetic resource is likely to fascinate plant breeders to explore the potentiality and transform it into a breeders' paradise.Bamboo resource is another outstanding strength of Arunachal Pradesh. An estimation made by Hore (1998) and Biswas (1988) reveals that appx. 7770 Km2 i.e., about 9.3% of the geographical area of the state is under 41 species of Bamboo coverage. Wide varieties of bamboo, spread over the entire state at different altitudes are suitable for multipurpose uses. Bamboo is intermingled with culture of majority of ethnic groups.
The most spectacular feature of the entire farm operations in the state is its Organic nature. More than 80% of the crop production in the state is without chemical fertilizers and agrochemicals and therefore it is an excellent opportunity for marching ahead with organic farming practices. Introduction of high yielding, fertilizer responsive varieties of crops in general and staple food crops in particular also could not fascinate the farming community significantly to use inorganic chemical fertilizers, synthetic agrochemicals and consequently yield potentials of new high yielding varieties of major crops could not be exploited and this is one of the of reasons of lower production and productivity in the state.
Economic returns from organically grown citrus, Pineapple, pome and stone fruits, other marketable surplus produces are at par with the chemicals aided produces due to non certification of organic produce. Low productivity of crops due to low/ negligible use of chemicals happened to be a major weakness in the past but in the present day global scenario; this weakness has been realized to be the major strength in Organic Agriculture movement.
Tremendous tourism potential of Arunachal is powerfully supported by the incredible agro-eco tourism potential and therefore an all-encompassing growth of tourism sector shall be a reality when it is carefully planned dovetailing Pilgrimage, rural, agro-eco, conferences, culture, archaeology, and adventure segments of this sector. Liberalized economic policy, Look east policy and the North East Vision Document- 2020 patronized by the union government is going to reward Arunachal in a big way.
Shifting cultivation: Shifting cultivation, locally known as 'Jhum' is widely practiced in the State of Arunachal Pradesh. This traditional system followed 20-30 years rotation cycle but population pressure and the increasing demands for food have reduced the cycle between 3-6 years (ICAR, 1983). Upland rice is the main crop and is grown in association with maize, finger millet, beans, tapioca, yam, banana, Sweet potato, ginger, cotton, tobacco, chillies, sesame, and vegetables. After two to three years of cultivation, the land is left fallow to allow the regeneration of forest vegetation and improvement of soil fertility, but the productivity is low.