Save our soil

Published: Thursday 15 May 1997

The National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, a non-governmental organisation providing agricultural scientists a forum to Interact on important agricultural issues, released a policy paper entitled Fertiliser Policy Issues (2000-2025) - agricultural scilentirts perreptions - in New Delhi on April 15,1997.

Based on a symposium held in 1996 on the use of fertilisers in agriculture, the paper assesses the future needs for the country, highlighting the various problems faced due to imbalance In the use of fertilisers and the possible nutrient Inputs that could be used to increase production with minimal environmental damage.

Expressing concern on the continuous disparity in the use of fertilisers in different agroclimatic zones - Punjab continues to use 176 k9 of ferfillisers per he while Assam uses only 13 kg per he - R S Paroda, director-general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research emphasised on the need for a national fertiliser policy for a more uniform application of fertilisers.

Noting the poor organic matter Content of Indian soils, the paper recommends the regular application of organic manure and recycling of crop residues to sustain productivity. Paroda and renowned agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan expressed concern at the poor health of soils in India. "Unless the soil health is nurtured and taken care of, we can forget about food security," said Swaminathan bluntly. Keeping this in mind, the paper recom- mends the use of blo-fertilisers, organic manurial resources, green manuring and the incorporation of legumes in the cropping pattern.

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