KATHMANDU, FEB 24 –
Despite having fertile soil, Kathmandu has nothing to feel proud about agricultural progress as the city has fast become a fertile ground for urbanisation.
According to experts, the Kathmandu Valley is among world’s top 10 cities having fertile soil. More than 50 percent of the Valley land has been occupied by concrete buildings and farming activities are being superseded by housing culture.
Stakeholders fear that the ongoing unsystematic and unscientific urbanisation might prove counterproductive in the days to come. A researcher at Soil Science Division (SSD), Pragun Sundar Sainju, said it takes more than one hundred thousand years for the formation of one inch of fertile soil. He said soil of the Valley was formed from the extreme decomposition of different aquatic animals, plants and minerals.
Uncontrolled construction of houses and growing brick factories are decreasing soil fertility day by day. It is said that soil made up of brick is suitable for vegetable and fruit production.
“The bricks used in building houses are made up of fertile soil. If this soil is consumed extensively, fertility will decrease. As a result, the native farmers won’t be able to make their living and they have to switch to other professions,” said Sainju. Uttar Regmi of Kathmandu Metropolitan City said people resort to haphazard construction in absence of a state policy. “There is a lack of co-ordination between the Soil Science Division and KMC. So it is hard to differentiate between fertile and infertile soil.”
Research officers at SSD say the government provides big budget to the National Agriculture Research Centre to cultivate crops, but there aren’t any places left for agricultural production owing to increasing number of houses and bricklins.
The most fertile areas in the Valley are Lubu, Sankhamul, Bhaktapur, Syambhu and Kirtipur. Lubu alone can produce about 5-7 tonnes of wheat yearly. “We are surprised when farmers told us that they have been producing about 9 tonnes of wheat in a year,” says Sainju.
Published in The Kathmandu Post