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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Agricultural land evaluation in the Kailali District in Nepal : using resource inventory data as a basis for national land use planning Shah, Pravakar Bickram


The objective of this research project was to demonstrate how biophysical information of the land resource survey in Nepal can be interpreted for land use planning and improvement of agricultural production. This was accomplished by devising a suitability rating scheme for six major crops presently grown in the study area. A modified F.A.O. suitability scheme was developed based on optimum, marginal and unsuitable conditions derived mostly from literature and local knowledge. Potential land use was determined for double and triple crop rotation schemes with and without irrigation. A suitability rating for each mapping unit was assigned, and based on the inherent physical and chemical soil limitations, the most appropriate crop rotation sequences were formulated. A comparison between current and proposed land use with and without irrigation was made in order to determine where expansion of certain crops and rotations are feasible and to justify the proposed land use over the existing one. This quantitative analysis showed that agricultural land can be increased by nearly 84% at the expense of forest land, which is at present degraded and not commercially viable. Increase in crop production is not only achievable by increasing the area for cultivation, but also by improving crop rotation and introducing irrigation. Based on currently obtained average yield, crop production can be increased by nearly 96% for improved land use without irrigation and 230% for improved land use with irrigation. These improvements are based on introducing double and triple crop rotation systems. Under more capital intensive management, such as irrigation, artificial fertilizers can be introduced and modest target yields can be obtained which are significantly higher than present yields. With such conditions, future overall production can be increased by nearly twelve times over current production. Long term fertilizer problems can be anticipated by knowing the inherent limitations of each mapping unit and using a Fertilizer Capability Classification Assessment scheme (FCC). It is hoped that by using the best crop rotation sequences, maximizing organic matter management and introducing artificial fertilizers, long term fertility and productivity can be maintained in the more intensively cultivated areas. The model developed is simple, easy to use and can be applied all to other Terai Districts in Nepal, where similar biophysical data are now available. This will facilitate national land use planning, help in the identification of new potential agricultural areas and provide a basis for increasing the national agricultural production.

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