BHUBANESWAR: In its bid to reduce the nutrient load on Chilika and help farmers improve their productivity, the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) has decided to pilot some of the best fertiliser and agricultural practices in the catchment areas of the lagoon.
The strategy is aimed at bringing down the runoff of fertilisers into the basin of the lagoon which is fed by 52 small rivers and streams.
Three experts, Dr Christopher Cox from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi, Sara Walker from World Resource Institute and Dr Norman Widman, National Agronomist from Natural Resources Conservation Service (both from the US), are in the State to hold a consultation with agriculture experts from the Government, OUAT as well as leading farmers so that the pilot project can be initiated.
Although the nutrient load in Chilika is stated to be within permissible limits at present, increasing pressure of population and agricultural practices in future could pose a threat to the ecosystem health of the 1,100 sq km brackish water lake.
The project is being planned by Global Environment Facility (GEF) in collaboration with UNEP to address the issue of nutrient load from various sources into the lake and promote effective use of fertilisers. To be carried out under Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), the strategy will comprise a toolbox for best nutrient management practices which can be used by technical professionals and field extension officers of Agriculture department.
“We are looking at a strategy under which fertiliser application is efficient and productivity of farmers is optimal because frequent and unscientific usage affects soil nutrition,” said Chief Executive of CDA Ajit Kumar Patnaik.
The Chilika drainage basin covers an area of about 4,300 sq km. Apart from 1,165 sq km area of the lake itself, the drainage basin of the lake includes 2,325 sq km of agricultural land, 525 sq km of forests and 190 sq km of permanent vegetation.
During monsoon, the discharge into the lake is high. The main tributaries of Mahanadi account for almost 61 per cent of total fresh water flow into the lake and 39 per cent is from non-perennial rivers from the western catchments.
The CDA plans to build capacity of local stakeholders to use the practices on nutrient management and design a field training programme for farmers and local level extension workers. On Monday, the consultation was attended by 40 participants.
Though nutrient load in Chilika is stated to be within permissible limits, increasing population pressure and agricultural practices could pose a threat to the ecosystem health
Experts will hold consultation with the Govt, OUAT and leading farmers to inititate the pilot project
will comprise a toolbox for best nutrient management practices which can be used by technical professionals and field extension officers
CDA plans to build capacity of local stakeholders to use the practices on nutrient management and design a field training programme for farmers