Soil health, land conservation & access to land for livelihood are the major confronts. The biological productivity of the World, meeting our energy, food & other requirements, depends on health of soil, especially its nutrient, water & carbon balance. Regrettably, it is this mother resource which is exhausting the fastest.
Approximations of the cost of soil degradation during 1990s & 1980s ranged from 11% to 26% of Gross Domestic Product. Salinity & water logging cost is estimated at Rs. 120 billion to Rs. 270 billion. If the cost of environmental damage is taken into consideration, economic growth of India comes to minus 5.73% per annum as against plus 5.66% estimated otherwise. Out of 328.7 million hectares of geographical area, 142 million hectare is net cultivated area in India. Soil health augmentation holds the key to hoisting small farm productivity.
Evergreen Revolution is impracticable without trouncing the extensive macro & micro nutrient dearth – the “hidden hunger”. More laboratories to differentiate explicit micronutrient insufficiencies in soils are immediately needed. Soil organic matter content will have to be augmented by integrating crop residues in soil. Proper technical advice on the retrieval of wastelands & on improving their biological potential should be obtainable. Pricing policies should endorse a balanced & resourceful use of fertilizers. The land use should be attuned to the land capability or else it will provoke degradation procedure that may be unfavorable to the watershed development programme.
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