Azhanuo Rutsa and K.K. Jha
SASARD, Nagaland University, Nagaland
In Nagaland "Zabo" farming is a method of integrating different farming components like horticulture, agronomical crops, fishery, and animal husbandry with a forest ecosystem with well-founded soil and water conservation base. "Zabo" was derived from the word "zabo" used in the Chokri dialect "dam drainage water" and is also known as the Dzüdü or Ruza system in certain areas of Phek District, Nagaland. In zabo system, ponds are dug in the middle to store the water channelized from hilltop. Water channelized from the top first goes to the silt retention tank where silt is retained and then it is stored in a pond for irrigation. Cattle and buffalo are the common livestock reared near the pond, vegetables and fruits are grown on bunds or just below the livestock enclosures. The water for irrigation to rice fields is taken from the pond through the livestock enclosures so that the dung and urine of the animals can be carried to the fields. This serves as a good source of nutrients for the paddy crops. Jhum or shifting cultivation is another farming system practiced in the region, where farmers practice mixed cropping, however, in zabo system along with the crops, fruits, livestock, and fishes are also integrated in a very scientific manner. The average yield of paddy in zabo system was recorded to be 1.95 tonnes/ha which is higher than jhum (1.0 ton/ha)with a high seed requirement. From the study, it can be concluded that zabo farming is remunerative, sustainable, preserves soil fertility, and is eco-friendly. The system has built-in mechanism of integrating different farming options like cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, livestock, and fishery.