Day 64 – Q 4. Despite making India a food surplus country, Green Revolution has also done a long term damage on the India soils. Elucidate. What measures can be taken to restore the fertility of soils in India?
4. Despite making India a food surplus country, Green Revolution has also done a long term damage on the India soils. Elucidate. What measures can be taken to restore the fertility of soils in India?
Green Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, not only made India a food surplus country from a food deficit one, but also resulted in huge economic benefits through job creation and improved gross domestic product. This achievement, however, got limited due to its long-term damage on Indian soils.
Negative impact of green revolution on soil:
- Soil alkalinity- Increased water usage by HYV crops and over-irrigation by farmers have made soils alkaline. The saline and alkaline affected tracts, locally known as kaller in Punjab and reh in Uttar Pradesh, have expanded and increased in area.
- Water logging- In canal irrigated areas water-logging is a serious ecological problem, for example, The Indira Gandhi Canal command area.
- Soil erosion- The agricultural area has been expanded into the pastures and forests, which are more susceptible to erosion.
- Declining soil fertility- Due to transformation of traditional rotation of crops, the place of leguminous crops (pulses etc.) has been taken by the soil exhaustive crops like rice, wheat, maize, bajra and cotton.
- Soil toxicity- Increased use of chemical fertilizers along with pesticides has increased the level of toxicity in the soil.
- Changed soil texture- Deep ploughing by tractors, absence of compost and green manuring have changed the texture of soil.
- Soil deficiency- Soil has become deficient in micro nutrients and overloaded with some macro nutrients like nitrogen due to overuse of urea.
Measures to restore fertility:
- Organic farming and use of manure to reduce the negative impacts of chemical fertilizers
- Judicious selection of crops to reduce the proportion of injurious salts in the soil.
- Cultivation of salt tolerant crops like barley, sugar beet, salt grass, asparagus, spinach and tomato may improve the fertility of alkaline lands
- Afforestation and agro-forestry to mitigate the effects of deforestation and conserve soil
- Use of practices like No-tillage farming, strip cropping can help prevent soil erosion and restore fertility in the long run.
- Crop diversification, crop rotation, growing legumes, composting etc. can also help restoring soil fertility.
Green Revolution 2.0 that incorporates increased food production along with environmental protection is much needed. With huge population pressure, India cannot go completely organic, and it necessitates impetus to agriculture R&D to achieve the desired crop production while maintaining environmental sustainability.
Best answer: Sakshi