Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reclamation process of agricultural lands after Tsunami by SEVAI

Land reclamation and rice cultivation in tsunami affected lands

In the aftermath of tsunami, SEVAI, decided to assist people to reclaim the lands through the use of organic methods. The activities of the organization were successful in the reclamation of more than 1000 acres of land through the application organic based approaches in 12 villages, desalination of 24 ponds, desilting of 9 km of drainage canals influencing the reclamation process of agricultural lands in Karaikal Region.In Nagapatinam/Karaikal most families own less than 2.0 hectares of land. A handful of farmers in each village own more than 4.0 hectares of land.SEVAI was quick to rise to the occasion and worked with the district coordination centre in assessing the damaged lands, it took up Kottucherry commune in Karaikal to demonstrate the effects of organic reclamation work which proved to be successful and in influencing the others in the district to adopt the same approach. The activities included removal of the clay/sand deposit by ploughing, constructing trenches along the bunds to facilitate lateral leaching of salts, the planting of green manure and the application of compost. The organization was instrumental in teaching and training of farmers’ vermicomposting techniques and helped to establish vermicomposting units. Trainings to farmers in organic methods of reclamation, vermicomposting and farming helped in capacity building of farmers.SEVAI continued with its work and in the short term is planning to train 400 labourers to take up economic - on farm activities nursery raising; grafting and layering; compost and vermicompost preparation and selling of bioinputs; value-adding of farm products.SEVAI working in the agriculture sector in tsunami affected Karaikal areas found that land reclamation and revitalization of agricultural operations were the priorities. Sea water encroaching on agricultural fields and water channels had destroyed the standing crop. Water bodies like ponds were salinated. It was also found that while the pH of the soil had not changed considerably, the electric conductivity had increased considerably in certain places. This had an adverse effect on the desalination process. Further, because the carbon content had dropped, there were no living micro-organisms present in the soil. In places, there is high accumulation of sand and silt with sand deposits up to 3 feet. The high level of salt content rendered fertilizers ineffective. The immediate tasks undertaken by SEVAI: deepening of drainage channels; removing the sand deposits on the top soil; removal of the upper layer of top soil; Adding bio-solutions to the soil assisted the growth of essential micro organisms. It was a huge task.-Govin

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