The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Twenty-seven. Return to Nagaland
caption: pressure on land and growing food shortages, population pressure
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyaks
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1970
text: It would be misleading, however, to generalize from this one example. Villages such as Wakching are certainly still self-sufficient in grain, but pressure on land is increasing. Thanks to the introduction of medical facilities and the suppression of head-hunting the population is steadily increasing and a shortage of cultivable land has become an inevitable prospect. In 1936-37 the cycle of rotation was fifteen years, and the long period of fallow allowed the land to recuperate and secondary jungle to grow up on the abandoned fields. Nowadays fields remain fallow only for eight years and this is not sufficient to prevent erosion and a general deterioration of the land. Anthropologists are not cast in the role of prophets, but anyone familiar with the problems of shifting cultivators in a variety of environmental situations must realize that the balance between population size and land resources which existed in the Konyak region one generation ago has already been upset, and that changes in the economy of the Konyaks are unavoidable if the growth of the population is not to lead to a drop in living standards.