Dhangadi, January 28
Sugarcane farming on the banks of the Mohana River has relieved the residents of Bisanpur in Kailari Rural Municipality, Kailali, from worries of soil erosion in cultivable lands.
Bisanpur locals had lost hundreds of bigaha of cultivable land to floods in the Mohana River in 2011. Bisanpur was the most soil-erosion-affected place. Over 50 bigaha fertile land along with crops was swept away by the floods then.
“The erosion of soil did not stop even after an embankment was built along the Mohana River. But after sugarcane farming was started, erosion has stopped and the quality of soil has improved,” said local Man Bahadur Chaudhary, who is also the chairperson of Disaster Management Committee. “Sugarcane farming helped us generate income while preserving our land and settlement,” he added.
Bisanpur locals have jointly grown sugarcane in 17 bigaha land. According to Chaudhary, the committee earns around Rs 3 lakh to 4 lakh per year. “The money we have earned from sugarcane farming has been used for construction of resilient housing in the village,” said Chaudhary.
With the prevention of soil erosion along the Mohana River, folks at Mohanpur, Shivapur and Manikapur, among other places, have started to grow sugarcane on the river banks. Moreover, District Red Cross Society, Kailali, has launched a campaign that encourages sugarcane farming at the worst erosion-hit areas including Kandra, Likma, Mohana and Shivaganga, among other places in the district.
District Red Cross Society Kailali Programme Coordinator Kalidas Joshi said they had carried out the campaign in coordination with Mercy Corps, an NGO, to curb the disaster risk through economic development.
Meanwhile, Kailari Rural Municipality Vice-chairperson Laxmi Satgauwa Chaudhary said they welcomed the initiatives of the society. “We devised the idea of bio-embankment thinking it would be better than physical embankment,” said Vice-chair Chaudhary.
A version of this article appears in print on January 29, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.