Agriculture productivity suffers with rising denudation in Chure range

Kanchanpur, Aug. 7: The soil fertility is gradually declining on agricultural land in the Tarai plains here with the rising deforestation and soil erosion in the Chure hill ranges.
This situation has resulted for lack of clear policies for the protection of the Chure hills. Haphazard felling of trees and mining for sand and stones in the fragile Chure hills is leading to land degradation and wider denudation.
The numerous seasonal rivulets that drain the Chure hills deposit sand and pebbles on the plain farmlands in the district during the monsoon season, reducing the fields to expanse of sand and pebbles.
An agriculture extension worker at the District Agriculture Development Office here, Ram Chandra Bhatta, said that the rate of deposition of sand and debris by such seasonal streams and runoff is five hectares per annum. 
"In 20 years, 30 per cent of the total arable land in Kanchanpur  district has been turned into barren land due to the problem of denudation in the Chure hills to the north," he said and warned that if the cultivable land is reduced to barren land at this rate, then a day will come in which people of the Tarai, considered the bread basket of the country, will have to import food grains in coming 10 years.
Bhatta said that it would be difficult to stop the land denudation and desertification in the Chure range until a clear land use plan is formulated and effectively implemented.
He also pointed out to the problem of fragmentation of arable land for housing purposes and haphazard settlements on cultivable land in the name of rehabilitating the landless squatters, the freed Kamaiyas and the homeless people

Bhatta suggests strong measures to check the random and haphazard quarrying taking place in the Chure region. He added that due to the combination of various of these factors, the cultivable land in the district is fast decreasing. Only 30 per cent land is arable in the district, he said.
According to the District Agriculture Development Office, Kanchanpur, only 59 thousand 532 hectares of land is cultivated. Considering the population growth rate of 1.62 in the district and the rapid decrease in the land for crop cultivation, the district is on the way towards facing food shortage in near future if timely measures are not taken, Bhatta warns. RSS

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