· In 1779, when a small colony established at Chatham Island, the conventional agriculture in a small area taken up to support the population.
· This project subsequently abandoned due to aboriginal menace and diseases.
· The first convict settlement in the Andaman Islands was done by Lord Mayo in 1870 by grant of tickets of leave and clearing a few hectares of land for cultivation of rice and vegetable around Port Blair.
· Only about 18,000 ha. were cleared till 1931 because of the embargo to the entry to the Islands and fear from the aboriginal tribes.
· The major clearance of forest and settlement on Agriculture was taken up after Independence with the settlement programme of refugees, landless people from mainland, repatriates of Srilanka and Burma and the ex-servicemen.
· With the settlement by repatriation, land distribution started in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, providing each settler about 2 ha. paddy land, 2 ha. hilly land and 0.4 ha. of homestead land. This marked the INITIATION OF AGRICULTURE IN THESE ISLANDS.
· Plantation of coconut and arecanut in Nicobar group of Island goes to 7th century.
· It is gathered that Coconut and Arecanut bartered with foreign ships since the 7th century in exchange for iron and steel implements, cereals and pulses.
· Department of Agriculture established in 1945 to develop agriculture in a systematic and scientific line.
· After Independence, major stress was under area expansion up to the end of 4th Five Year Plan (1969-74).
· From 5th Five Year Plan thrust diverted from area expansion to intensive agricultural practices in the existing area.
· For spices development Central Sector Schemes for integrating development of spices introduced during 1976-77 with a sanctioned strength of 1Group-A, 3-GroupB, 7 Group-C & Group-D post).
· Agriculture is important to the UT of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
· 50% of the UT population is directly/indirectly dependent on Agriculture & Allied activities.
· Total land used for agriculture is relatively small due to paucity of non-forest land and numerous competing infrastructural demands.
· Only about 6% of the non-forest land, i.e 50000 ha is available for agricultural purposes.
· Paddy is the main field crop grown in about 8000 ha. Plantation crops occupy more than 50% of the total area.
· After Tsunami only 45800 ha area available for cultivation.
· About 4206 ha land submerged in 2004 Tsunami.
Agriculture in these Islands is not very old. The original inhabitants of Andaman lived in isolation and were dependent for the food on forest products, fish and wild animals etc. for their survival. Cultivation of crops was unknown to them.
In Nicobar group of Islands, the tribals have been growing plantation crops like coconut and arecanut for centuries . It is, reported that they used to exchange coconut and arecanut for rice and cloth etc. with foreign shippers visiting these Islands from China, Malaysia and Indonesia etc.
In 1879, when a small colony was established at Chatham Island, the conventional agriculture in a small area was taken up to support the population to meet the demands of vegetables and also a few tropical fruits etc. However, this project was subsequently abandoned due to aboriginal menace and diseases.
With the establishment of penal settlement during 1857 and with gradual increase of settlers by repatriation, land distribution started in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, providing each settler about 2 ha. paddy land, 2 ha. hilly land and 0.4 ha. of homestead land. This marked the initiation of agriculture in these Islands. Thus by and large the history of agriculture dates back a little more than a century, although plantation of coconut and arecanut in Nicobar group of Island goes to 7th century.
The Department of Agriculture was established in 1945 to develop agriculture in these Islands in a systematic and scientific line.
After Independence, major stress was under the area expansion and land for agriculture expanded up to the end of 4th Five Year Plan (1969-74). However, with the report of Mc Vean in 1976 on “Land use in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands”, which emphatically indicated these lands are essentially forest terrains and not suitable for large scale agriculture settlement and agro-based enterprise, the thrust was diverted from area expansion to intensive agricultural practices in the existing area. As on date, agricultural activities are therefore confined to an area of about 50,000 hects.