CMPA Project hosts the ValuES field trip to Chorao Island, Goa

28 Apr, 2017

Over 40 participants from 17 countries that attended the Fourth ValuES Regional Asia-Africa-Europe meeting in Goa used the last day of their conference to visit the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary and Chorao Island off Panjim, Goa’s capital.

Participants from the Fourth ValuES Regional Asia-Africa-Europe meeting at the entrance to the Dr. Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Chorao Island, Goa

The visit was jointly organised by Dr. Aaron Savio Lobo, GIZ Technical Adviser of the CMPA Project and the Goa Forest Department. The sanctuary and the neighbouring village of Chorao are one of the pilot sites of the CMPA Project. Here, the focus is on participatory approaches to the management of this important coastal ecosystem.

The tour started with a walk along the nature trail of the sanctuary, where the visitors were introduced to the mangrove ecosystem. Its interpretation centre attracted lots of attention, as did the various information boards explaining the ecology of mangroves and their associated fauna. An ensuing boat trip through the small canals of this mangrove forest offered a different perspective of the mangroves and gave many visitors a close-up view of the fauna and the traditional fisheries in the area. For some of the visitors, coming from as far as Central Asia and the southern tip of Africa, this was a rather new experience.

The sanctuary’s visitors boat

In Chorao, the group was welcomed by members of the Village Panchayat and the Chorao Biodiversity Management Committee, both very active partners in the CMPA Project. The visitors were introduced to the Khazan system of farming, Goa’s unique rice-cum-fish farming method, which continues to be practiced in Chorao.

Considering that it was the ValuES meeting’s central theme, the participants appreciated seeing practical examples of ‘Ecosystem Services’, such as the stabilising role of mangroves or the tide-driven Khazan farming and fishing system.

All’s Well that Ends Well. Chorao’s Village Sarpanch, Ms. Divya Usapkar, and Mr. Vishal Acharya (Deputy Sarpanch) treated the participants to delicious Chorao Mancurad mangos, an organically grown produce of the Chorao Farmers Club. They also took the group to the island’s traditional Caju Feni distillery. Hardly anyone missed the chance to taste this very special Goan drink made from the fruits of the cashew tree, and so the day ended on a happy note!

Staff from the Goa Forest Department guiding the visitors on the nature trail.

Dr. A.S. Lobo, GIZ, explains the role of sluice gates in the Khazan system.

A traditional Caju Feni distillery on Chorao Island.

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