The physical features of the hill slopes of Mizoram make agricultural practices extremely difficult and diverse; as such, the region is characterized by 298heavy soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, and deforestation causing severe ecological imbalance. Moreover, due to shortening of the jhum cycle, the secondary forests also do not get adequate time to regenerate. The repeated use of land with short jhum cycle finally converts a large area of jhum fallows into degraded wastelands. Considering the landscape and climate of Mizoram, a number of experts suggested that horticulture would have better prospects than agriculture, which has a limited growth in the northeast region.

The study site is located at Tachhip, under the Aibawk Rural Development Block (Aizawl district). The project aimed at introducing low-cost integrated horticultural farming systems in the target villages with community participation. Fruit tree-based intercropping system and sloping agricultural land technology (SALT) have been introduced in the farmers field. Tephrosia candida is used as hedgerows as well as green manure and mulch, which are useful in dry periods. Permanent horticultural crops, viz., mango and citrus are cultivated at standard spacings. Short-term and medium-term income-producing crops are planted between strips of permanent crops as source of food and regular income, while waiting for the permanent crops to bear fruits. The medium crops introduced are banana, pineapple, and papaya. The annual cash crops such as maize and mustard are also grown between the permanent and medium crops. The choice of crops was made taking into account the edaphic and microclimatic factors and scope of markets. To enrich the soil and effectively control erosion, straws, stalks, twigs, branches, leaves, dry logs, and woods are piled at the base of hedgerows.

The organic manure, viz., cow-dung, chicken manures, and biofertilizers, are distributed to the farmers to enrich the soil nutrient availability. The project also aims at cultivating the land and raising horticultural crops to keep the soil in good health by using organic wastes (crop, animal, and farm wastes) and biofertilizers for an increased and sustainable production in an eco-friendly and pollution-free environment. The horticultural crops have been found to perform well under the SALT, and the farmers started harvesting the medium crops from the third year. It has been observed that the farm income of the beneficiaries has substantially increased with adoption of the improved farming system.