Tsirang’s Farmers Grow Broom Grass To Combat Landslide

Coinciding with the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, the Tsirang forest division planted at least 10,000 saplings of broom grass in the community forest.

Agriculture helps to prevent soil erosion. (Source: Design Destinations)

 

By Nirmala Pokhrel | Kuensel

During a monsoon in 1986, Chandralal Nepal’s house in Semjong, Tsirang got buried under a landslide. His five family members escaped through the roof that remained uncovered under the muck.

Eight houses in the village were also washed away that night, killing two people. Since then, Tashiling village has suffered from landslides every year.

Action taken to combat landslides and soil erosion

However, a group of 18 villagers took the initiative to combat landslide and erosion in 2013 by planting broom grass in their surroundings and the vulnerable area below the village.

This measure has made a difference in preventing landslides and soil erosion. Today, all the 25 households of the village grow broom grass in more than 50 decimal of land.

While the grass hinders landslides, it has other uses as well. A villager, Dil Bahadur Raika, 65 grows broom grass in about 1.5 acres of land. In fact, the grass has been growing in his land for over 15 years now.

Other functions of broom grass

He said that while he harvests and sells brooms worth Nu 2,000 to 5,000 in a year, he uses the grass as cattle feed. He also uses the matured stem as support for vegetables such as beans and peas.

 

Source: The Glaciertrust.org

 

“It occupies land permanently but serves a great purpose,” he said.

Coinciding with the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on June 17, the Tsirang forest division planted at least 10,000 saplings of broom grass in the community forest.

The project ‘Sustainable cultivation of broom grass and promotion of agro-biodiversity’ was achieved with funding support from the UNDP’s GEF-small grants programme.

The chairman of the Tashiling forest committee, Purna Bahadur Bista said that the broom grass today covers more than seven-acres of the community forest.

“Planting broom grass here will protect houses above or adjacent houses from landslides.”

Meanwhile, Tsirang division’s chief forestry officer, Dimple Thapa said that although there are many other areas where landslides and erosion is a problem, the project is meant to support and strengthen what the public has already started.

“They lacked funds to expand their plantation so we’re supporting them,” she said.

 

This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for the Bhutan Times


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