OVER the years, the application of chemical fertilisers has grown vertiginously in India. In percentage terms, however, this spectacular rise has left far behind the growth in food production, according to a report released by the Bombay-based Akhil Bharat Krishi Goseva Sangh.
From 1951 to 1953, fertiliser application increased by an astonishing 15,000 per cent -- from less than 1 kg per hectare to 106.72 kg per ha. Yield, on the other hand, has crept up much more tardily -- from 522 kg per ha to 1,397 kg per ha (an increase of 167 per cent) -- and food production has increased by a marginally faster 248 per cent -- from 51 million tonnes to 177 million tonnes.
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