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                                                                                     mountain farm


                                  The recent devastation caused by floods and landslides in the Uttarakhand-Himachal region provides us with an opportune moment to comprehend the fragile agro-ecology of the mountain zones. Media reports have largely confined themselves to relief and rescue operations and the damage caused to some pilgrimage spots, hence the extent of loss and destruction of farm resources is yet to be released in the public domain. By even the most conservative stretch of imagination, given the magnitude of the calamity, the damage is feared by many to be enormous. The physiography of the mountain landscapes is vastly different from that of the plains or even tablelands(plateaus and uplands) and Mountain or highland agriculture is a very highly specialized area of research in most Institutions (which deal in agriculture) around the world, India being no exception. Development of sustainable agriculture in the mountain zones is beset with formidable challenges. They are though not insurmountable and with sustained effort, much headway can be made.

                                Agro-ecosystems in mountain zones are susceptible to soil erosion, loss of genetic bio-diversity and landslides. Physical isolation is responsible for excluding large sections of the population from enjoying the benefits of development.  People often suffer from poor health, deprivation, lack of occupational opportunities and inadequate sanitation as well as potential propensity towards natural disasters.

                               With reference to India the Indian Council of Agriculture Research has been according priorities to mountain farming and has over a period of time evolved sustainable and multi-faceted models which have immensely helped the mountain farming community.   There is though no clear cut definition of highland /mountain farming. Anything from 200m to 7500m elevation is considered as such.  The Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR)  has carved out nine regions as mountain zones.

  • Western Himalayan Region
  • Eastern Himalayan Region
  • Eastern Plateau Hills
  • Central Plateau Hills
  • Western Plateau Hills
  • Southern Plateau Hills
  • East Coast Hills
  • West Coast Hills
  • Gujarat Hills

Reference and Acknowledgements:

ICAR Handbook(2009 edition)

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.