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Analysis of Land use, Crop Productivity in Andaman and Nicobar Islands


S Senani
Sr Scientist
Central Agricultural Research Institute,
Email: [email protected]

Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands are situated in the Bay of Bengal spreading in an arch from North to South. The 572 scattered islands are located between 6045′-130 41’N latitude, 92012′, and 93057’E longitude, occupying an area of 8249 km2 . A 1:250000 scale map of Andaman and Nicobar islands was used for digitization. The map was grided in the lat- long having four coordinates 92:00:00, 14:00:00, and 94:00:00, 14:00:00, and 92:00:00, 7:00:00, and 94:00:00, 7:00:00. Four extremities of lat long were used as reference points for map registration and digitization of island boundaries and areas. All the 36 inhabited islands were digitized and their area was analyzed and edited for discrepancies. The total area of Islands is 8249 sq. kms distributed in Andaman (6340 sq. kms) and Nicobar group (1841 sq. kms). Out of a total geographical area of 640800 ha about 59766 ha has so far been cleared of forests for agriculture, plantations and other allied purposes (Anonymous 1997).

This constitutes hardly 9.33 % of the total geographical area of the Islands for agriculture and other activities against the hitherto belief that eighty six percent of the total geographical area is under forest and rest is available for human use including agriculture. Out of this 12000 ha is under rice cultivation, 28267 ha under plantation crops including coconut, areca nut, rubber and about 10000 ha is available as waste/ fallow land. Major land use in the islands is forest which range between 19.83 to 100 percent. Car Nicobar island has 19.83 % area and Narcondum, North Sentinel, Strait island, Peel island, Flat bay, Stewart island, John Lawrence, Aves, East and Interview island have 100% area under forest. On the other hand, cultivable area ranges from 0-80.16%. North Andaman, Car Nicobar and Katchal have over 40.05 % area under crops and rests of the islands have cultivable area between 0-19 percent. Out of 36 in habited islands 11 islands have no cultivable land and 14 have less than 10 percent area under cultivation.

As such there is no land earmarked for fodder production. Yet livestock largely thrive on grazing alone on fallow land, wasteland, community land or grazing lands in absence of stall-feeding practice. Most of the hilly lands are present in the bigger islands such as North, Middle and South Andaman, Little Andaman, Car Nicobar, Katchal and Great Nicobar islands and are generally used for coco nut and areca nut plantation. Out of 36 inhabited islands 4 islands viz Curlew, John Lawrance, Peel and North Sentinel have no area under coconut cultivation. Car Nicobar, katchal, South Andaman, Great Nicobar, Middle and North Andaman, Little Andaman have more than 1000 ha under coconut. Car Nicobar has maximum area (9188 ha) and Stewart Island has (0.6 ha) under coconut cultivation. Rest of the islands has less than 100 ha area under coconut cultivation. This area could be used for growing fodders and could support 6 cattle per year on a mixed 1:1 grass legume fodders. Paddy is predominantly grown in Andaman group of islands and only North, Middle and South Andaman have more than 1000 ha area under paddy.