Agriculture Department

 

                  Agriculture in Andaman Islands is only about 100 years old though plantation crop in Nicobar Islands is Centuries old. Prior to the establishment of Penal settlement in 1958 all the Islands were covered by dense tropical forest, the aboriginal inhabitants living a life knowing no form of cultivation. In 1870 Lord Mayo took serious steps for making Port Blair self-supporting by expansion of Agriculture. Convicts were given tickets of leave, encouraged settlement and started clearing of jungle in order to grow vegetables, fruits and other crops. The major clearance of forest and settlement was taken after independence with the programme of settlement of refugees, landless people from mainland, repatriates of Srilanka & Burma and the Ex-service men.
 
The profile and characteristic of Soil in Andaman and Nicobar Islands shows considerable variation from place to place, varies from heavy clayey to clayey loams, loams to sandy loams, nutritionally poor, rules out uniform crops for field or for plantation crops as well as large scale production. The cultivation of crops is totally rainfed receiving nearly 3180 mm rainfall annually with an average of 154 rainy days in one year.
 
         Since beginning, the department of Agriculture is playing a vital role in the overall development of agriculture in the Islands by experimenting at the agricultural stations with all crops of local importance and in demonstrating the proved results of these experiments on the cultivator's own plots. Seeds and seedlings of some of the best varieties in yield and quality cultivated in mainland have been imported and distributed to cultivators. The Department also devotes its attention to the introduction of newly improved implements and manures and organizing training camps to farmers all over the Islands and conducting study tour to mainland to make them aware of most modern techniques of cultivation and adopting the same in their own field.