The economy of the northeastern states is mainly based on subsistence agriculture and a system of shifting cultivation called jhum. Rampant and unchecked practice of jhum has put pressure on the fragile ecosystem and resulted in food scarcity; coupled with other problems, this has affected the quality of life in the region.
The Trusts launched the North East Initiative in 2008 to address developmental issues in the region through the provision of enhanced livelihood opportunities, improved agricultural practices and sustainable use of natural resources. It aims to create an effective channel for the dissemination of knowledge and expertise in the region. The North East Initiative Development Agency (NEIDA), the Trusts’ associate organisation, plans to reach out to 37,000 households in the states of Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in the coming years. The key focus areas of the initiative now are agriculture and horticulture, household-level piggery enterprise, formation and strengthening of community institutions, skill building, education, and water and sanitation.