How to use organic and bio-fertilizers in place of chemical fertilizers
As a result of its very ambitious yet hopeful plans for the next ten years, India recently became the torch bearer at the 26th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
But is it possible to accomplish these objectives without taking climate adaptation and agricultural sustainability into account?
What we put into our fields, what leaches from our fields, and what gets added to our water and air all affect how long our agriculture (our crops and soil) will be able to function and adapt to climate change. Clearly, our nutrition management methods are where the problem lies.
Since the Green Revolution, we have become increasingly dependent on chemical fertilizers as a source of plant nutrients, making India a self-sufficient country. Why did we still come in at number 101 out of 116 in the global hunger index?
The fact that we somehow lost sight of our traditional farming methods and our usage of chemical fertilizers became unbalanced or skewed is one of the main causes.
The unbalanced use of chemical fertilizers then began to manifest negative effects, including the deterioration of soil health due to the loss of organic matter, the deterioration of soil structure, the disruption of the hydrothermal balance of the soil, the contamination of heavy metals, and most importantly, the unbalanced consumption of food by humans.
Yes, we must feed the world's growing population, but we must do it without endangering the health of humans, the environment, or our soils. Beginning with balanced Integrated Nutrient Management, the future road can gradually pave the way for the use of organic or biofertilizers as an alternative to chemical fertilizers.
It is important to mention that farmers are having difficulties this year because the market is empty of urea or diammonium phosphate. However, guano was where the Green Revolution began (seabird and bat droppings). So why can't it be done right now, even if only partially or in an integrated way?
Farmers also can't dodge this adaption for very long given the shifting customer perceptions and rising health consciousness among the people.
The roughly 43% of our staff adapting to organic or biofertilizers has its own set of difficulties and is undoubtedly a gradual process. This would require a very aggressive strategy and, consequently workforce.
To persuade farmers of the outcomes, lab-to-land programmes of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and state agriculture universities need to leave the confines of multicolored files and be put into practise on the ground.
A farmer won't accept anything that doesn't produce productive results and shouldn't. It must be shown to the farmers that their yield will not decrease, that their benefit-cost ratio will improve, and that the market's quality requirements will be satisfied using actual examples and statistical analysis.
It must be demonstrated how, as a result of this adaptation, their future generations will be grateful to them for leaving behind healthy land, water, and air. Now, if we are successful in persuading the farmers, we must satisfy their desires for organic and bio fertilizers that are sufficiently competitive with chemical fertilizers in terms of nutrient content, solubility, plant availability, and costs.
The fertilizer market must be penetrated by organic and bio-fertilizers in the same manner that urea or single super phosphate did in the 1960s. It is necessary to plan out an effective retail, marketing, and distribution network.
Additionally, organic and bio-fertilizers should be made compatible for use with micro-irrigation techniques. Farmers must also be confident that their food, whether perishable or not, will have access to market, storage, and transportation facilities, as well as reliable certification services, once they have implemented these changes.