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Switch to organic farming essential

OGSource-Times Of India Jaideep Deogharia | TNN | Feb 13, 2016, 08.50 AM IST

Ranchi: Reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and switching over to organic farming is no longer an option for farmers in the state. Experts believe that the health of soil has deteriorated over the years owing to rampant use of chemicals. Unless the soil is given a chance to rejuvenate, productivity will reduce drastically, they fear.
Swami Bhaveshananda, research scholar in agriculture science and secretary of the Ranchi Ramkrishna Mission, said they have decided to switch over to organic farming owing to the harmful effects of continued use of chemicals.
“There was a time when I had promoted the use of chemical fertilizers in the villages here. That was when Green Revolution was underway. But with research having proved the ill-effects of chemicals, we have been campaigning for organic farming and also for devising better and useful techniques,” he said. Due to the indiscrimiate use of chemicals, soil is fast losing microbes and organic matter, he added.
Explaining the phenomenon, he said, “If there is no rhizobium bacteria, the process of nitrogen fixation will not take place making all the diammonium phosphate (DAP) and urea unavailable to plants.” Overuse of chemicals have significantly reduced their presence in soil. Rhizobium bacteria cannot fix nitrogen independently and needs legumes as the host plant, he added.

Senior scientist Dr Ajit Singh, working with Krishi Vigyan Kendra under Divyayan said, the productivity of soil decreases with continuous use of fertilizers. Therefore, for a given (fixed) quantity of grains from a plot, farmers have to increase the fertilizer input over the years. For instance, if 30kg of urea was used on an acre of plot in the first year, the urea requirement will go upto 50kg in the next five years.
“Organic farming is a complete package in which fertility of soil, quality of food produced and overall environment improves,” he said. Admitting that the recent government scheme of providing soil health cards to farmers is going to increase awareness about soil conservation, Singh said Jharkhand has poor irrigation facility as a result of which most parts of the state practice mono crop.

“If a farmer wants to grow two to three crops, the adversities of poor soil health will be evident. In such a case, bio-fertilizers and some of the traditional methods to reclaim soil fertility can work wonders,” he said.
On a plot of over 70 acre in Maheshpur, Getalsud and Tirla Kocha village under Angara block of Ranchi district, scientists have decided to plant green manure. “Dhancha is a plant that is sown and then ploughed to mix it with the soil within 35-40 days of growth,” Singh said, clarifying that it naturally improves nitrogen fixation in the soil improving the organic content in the process.


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