‘Khazans qualify as heritage ecosystem’
Committee on khazan land management recommends government propose UNESCO world heritage site tagging for the ecosystem
PANJIM: Goa’s 3000-year old khazan ecosystem could be recommended for UNESCO World Heritage site tagging, if the State government accepts and works out a proposal as suggested by its appointed expert committee on ‘Khazan Land Management’.
The Committee headed by expert Dr Simon D’Souza in its report, which would be incorporated as part of the Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP), has said that the Khazan ecosystem amply qualifies as a heritage eco-system worth promoting for acceptance as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“The khazan land ecosystems are unique man-made systems established around 3000 years back by our ancestors as a result of intricate ecological, technical and environmental knowledge gained by them through centuries of trial and error efforts,” the report noted.
“It has been able to sustainably supply the food needs of local communities till date, albeit to a diminishing extent due to several socio-economic realities of modern times,” it added further.
The Committee has strongly recommended to the State government to take up the issue of ‘heritage eco-system’ for consideration with UNESCO.
The committee has also recommended eco-tourism activities in the Khazan land as “out-of-box” ideas to generate additional income.
It said that the khazan land should be planned as a “self-sustaining” model with receipts from agriculture, pisciculture and salt farming over and above the expenditure on bund maintenance and other farming inputs.
“Some out-of-box activities such as eco tourism and nature walk trails in khazans as a niche product should be explored for additional income,” the Committee proposed.
It further suggests that the products from khazan lands, especially the salt tolerant rice varieties, salt and fish can be GI-tagged or branded to enhance the essence of the produce and fetch a better price.
The Committee has also proposed a detailed survey of the khazan land, which would help in its revival and sustainable management. A rough estimate shows that khazan land is spread across 18,500 ha.
The committee has observed that no statistical data is available with respect to the present status of khazan land ecosystems in the State. The dearth of data is felt related to land, crop and ownership as well as demography facts on the ground.
“A detailed survey is recommended to determine the extent of khazan lands, owned by comunidades, government, religious bodies, charity organisations and private individuals, which will help not only in planning, but also regulating and managing the khazan eco-system in an effective manner,” the committee proposed.