Increased drying of soil will further precipitate the agrarian crisis in the country
State of India’s agriculture is back in news. The recent shooting of farmers during a protest in Madhya Pradesh that led to six deaths, and the ongoing protests in Maharashtra for agricultural debt waiver, are two big developments within a week’s time. But these are symptoms of a bigger crisis afflicting agriculture in India.
Increasing desertification of India’s soil, is a fundamental threat to agriculture, according to the recently released State of India’s Environment 2017: In Figures book published by the Centre for Science and Environment and Down To Earth magazine.
According to this report, nearly 30 per cent of India is degraded or facing desertification. Of India's total geographical area of 328.72 million hectares (MHA), 96.4 MHA is under desertification. In eight states—Rajasthan, Delhi, Goa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Nagaland, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh—around 40 to 70 per cent of land has undergone desertification. More to it, 26 of 29 Indian states have reported an increase in the area undergoing desertification in the past 10 years.
Desertification is defined as “a type of land degradation in which a relatively dry land region becomes increasingly arid, typically losing its bodies of water as well as vegetation and wildlife.”
Loss of soil cover, mainly due to rainfall and surface runoff, is one of the biggest reasons for desertification. It is responsible for 10.98 per cent of desertification in the country. Water erosion is observed in both hot and cold desert areas, across various land covers and with varying levels of severity. The next big reason is wind erosion.
Six farmers shot dead during protest in Madhya Pradesh
Insurance companies have not paid 83% of farmers' claims
Droughts getting intense, more frequent in southern states
Climate change impact on agriculture leads to 1.5 per cent loss in India’s GDP
Desertification and land degradation atlas of India
The drylands advantage: protecting the environment, empowering people
Economics of land degradation and improvement: a global assessment for sustainable development
Question raised in Rajya Sabha on decline in agricultural land, 25/07/2014
Strategies for arresting land degradation in South Asian countries
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.