International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Role of the Coastal Ocean in the Disturbed and Undisturbed Nutrient and Carbon Cycles - Results

GEF IDS: 514



Information sources
IWC6 Results Note (2011), World Bank Terminal Evaluation (2004)

Key Basin Project Results
1. Reduction in nutrient loads to local soil and water bodies in project area: Installation of manure management systems, including construction of manure platforms, adequate manure storage facilities and training in optimum application of manure as fertilizers as well as implementation of environmentally friendly agricultural practices such as shrub and tree planting led to a significant decrease in nutrient loads entering soil and water bodies from agricultural sources.
2. Increased awareness of environmental issues among farmers: A broad public awareness program was undertaken to widen understanding of the importance of agriculture and environment among farmers in the project area which led to a significant increase in the percentage of farmers implementing environmentally friendly agricultural practices, including nutrient reduction measures. The project trained agri-environmental advisors in good agricultural practices who subsequently worked with local farmers to demonstrate the benefits of environmentally responsible management on farms. This significantly increased awareness of the nexus between agriculture and environment among farmers and resulted in an increased uptake of project activities among Poland’s farming community.

Results data
Agriculture pollution reduction practices
Year: N/A - Value: 81863 kg N
INDICATOR: Increased number of farmers undertaking investments to control nutrient pollution from agriculture. Over 730 farms, covering 17,819 ha of land, implemented measures to control nutrient discharges to local soil and water bodies. The project supported the construction of 952 tanks for liquid animal waste storage and 652 manure pads.

INDICATOR#1: Improved water quality through N and P reductions in project area. Through the introduction of well-designed tanks for manure storage, manure pads and properly –sized manure storage tanks, nitrogen run-off into the ground was reduced substantially by participating farms. Nutrient loss reductions in the project area were estimated at about 81,863 kilograms by project end.

The manure storing facilities have been installed and are used continuously, which ensures sustainability of project effects in this aspect. Those farmers who have not yet had the chance to apply the slurry on their fields are, according to NMP, eagerly awaiting the anticipated savings on mineral fertilizers. Those who already saw the benefits are convinced about the effectiveness of their investments (such declaration was made by about 73% of farmers participating in the project), and in case of farm expansion, they have been adding more tanks using EU pre-accession Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (SAPARD) funds. Thus physical, tangible outputs played an important role in understanding the processes which secure the intangible outcomes. Without manure tanks and pads available for demonstration, the idea of environment protection would not be as visible as it has become. Farmers are able to see now how much manure they do NOT let into the nearest creek, protecting their environment and the environment as a whole. They also realize that they can save on mineral fertilizers. This experience clearly shows that the physical aspect is intricately connected to the knowledge-gaining aspect of the project. Also the farmers’ perception on project beneficiaries changed in the course of the project; now the farmers seem to understand that they are the nvironmental managers of their own surroundings. It is thus likely that the farmers will continue the environmentally friendly practices because of the proven cost-effectiveness and other benefits to the farm. It must be underlined that it was the advisor who helped the farmer to realize and understand all the benefits of the project. The trust relationship between the farmer and his advisor was used in the project to break the barrier of a “typical Polish farmers’
mentality” which could be described as conservative, not progressive and distrustful. The chief reason for such thinking is the low level of farmers’ education (farmers usually complete only a vocational school; a very small percentage of farmers graduate from agricultural universities) combined with a tradition to
manage the farm “like the fathers did”. This trust relationship, strengthened in the course of project implementation, allowed to demonstrate to the farmer that farm management does not have to go against tradition and that he does not need to learn only from his own mistakes, loosing time and money – the
advisor/extension agent, is there to help. The project also had to break another barrier: according to the requirements of the project, farm equipment co-financed by the project could be operated by farmers associated into equipment using groups or producers groups, which proved to be a problematic practice because there continues to be a historically determined lack of desire to cooperate, especially in commune-type arrangements, and a lasting expectation
that services of all kinds will be free. The groups were reluctant to pay one farmer to be the group’s manager; similarly there were some problems with the maintenance and use fees. In most cases, however, problems were solved and in some cases the cooperation was exemplary and worth outside support.