The term “Taungya Cultivation” is Burmas word meaning hill cultivation and the system was started for the first time in Burma in 1856. Then it introduced into Bangladesh (Chittagong and sylhet) in 1870. The taungya system is defined as a method of establishing a forest crop in temporary association with agricultural crops. It is a method of raising forest plantations in which cultivators are allowed to raise agricultural crops for initial periods of a few years and in return they are made to raise forest plantations.
Or, A form of agroforestry system in which short term crops are grown in the early years of the plantation of a woody perennials species in order to utilize the land, control weeds, reduce establishment costs, generate early income and stimulate the development of the woody perennials species.
This is a modified term of shifting cultivation in which labour is permitted to raise crop in an area but only side by side with the forest species planted by them. The practices consist of land preparation, tree planting, growing agricultural crop for 1 to 3 years until shade becomes the dense and then moving on to repeat the cycle in a different area. Traditional Taungya consist of land preparation for tree plantation, growing agricultural crops for 1 to 3 years after the tree plantation and moving on to another area to repeat the cycle.
Types of Taungya
There are three types of Taungya
1. Departmental Taungya: Under this, agricultural crops and plantation are raised by the forest department. By employing daily paid labours the main aim of raising agricultural crops along with the plantation is to keep along with the land free of unwanted vegetation.
2. Leased Taungya: The forest land is given on lease to the person who affects the highest money for raising Agril. crop for a specialized number of years and ensure care of tree plantation. 3. Village Taungya: This is the most successful of all the three Taungya systems. Under this the people who have settled down in a village inside the forest for this purpose raise crops. Usually each family has about 0.8 to1.7 ha of land has raise trees and cultivate crops for 3 to 5 years.
Advantages of Taungya System
i) Artificially regeneration of the forest is done at cheaper rate. ii) Problem of unemployment is solved to some extent. iii) Better utilization of land.
iv) Remunerative to forest department.
Disadvantages of Taungya System
i) Creates certain legal problems.
ii) Exploitation of hum in labour.
iii) Danger of epidemic.
v) Loss and soil fertility.
The Taungya system begins with harvesting of the forest. The harvested area is clear cut and burnt. Some trees are after reserved for shade or for fruit. Usually the area selected for Taungya system should be flat and fertile. Generally one or two hectares of land are allocated to one family. Sometimes the amount of area may be more.
Usually cultivation of an agricultural crop is permitted for one or two years before forest plantation. This help the farmer to take one or two good harvest in the highest fertility condition of forest land. Allowing one or two crops before plantation is an incentive to the farmers for clearing the land for forest plantation. When trees crop are planted with agricultural crop in the second or third year, they receive the benefits of the intensive cultural operation on which the farmer adopted for his agricultural crops. When the forest plantation get established, the farmers have to leave the area.