Soil Health: ‘Barren Earth’ has become the biggest challenge for humanity around the world
Without prevention, the soil of the whole of India is in danger of becoming barren in 60 years.
All Indians, including farmers, must be cautious about this soil health danger. According to the rate at which the upper and fertile layer of the soil is being lost across the country in the next 60 years, i.e., by the year 2080-85, farms with fertile soil will end, and India will become a country with barren land! These facts are extremely scary but completely scientific. They tell us when and in what form will our future generations have to bear the consequences of the harm we are causing to the environment in the wake of modern development.
The latest data is that out of the total geographical area of 328.7 million hectares of India, about 96.4 million hectares of soil have been eroded. Degraded soil means that the upper fertile layer of the soil of such an area of the country has been destroyed to such an extent that it is no longer fit for cultivation. In other words, till now, we have made 29 percent of the land productive and destroyed its production capacity.
40% of the world’s land became barren
The impact of the trend of soil erosion is not limited to India alone. This challenge is also worldwide. Globally, the extent of barren land is increasing terrifyingly. According to the ‘Global Land Outlook Report’ released by the World Food Organization and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), more than 40 percent of the available land globally has become infertile.
The report warned that if humanity fails to take steps on a war footing to restore the soil’s fertility, the day is not far when half of the world’s population will have to face a serious food crisis. The main reason for this is also that recently the world’s population had crossed the figure of 8 billion. 12 years ago it was 7 billion and 12 years before it was 6 billion.
Global Crisis of Hunger and Nutrition
Now, if it takes only 11-12 years for human beings to reach 8 to 9 billion, then around 2035, the world’s population will be 9 billion, then around 2045-46, it will be 10 billion. To feed such a growing population, global food production will be challenging to meet with the shrinking area of cultivable fertile land. That is why experts have warned of a food and malnutrition crisis for half of the global population.
According to experts, factors such as over-exploitation of land, increasing use of chemical fertilizers in traditional agricultural practices, mining and deforestation are responsible for turning fertile soil into barren fields. The challenge is also that if the barren expansion continues at the current rate, not only will the human food chain collapse, but there will be such a decline in the bio-diversity of the earth that many important animal species will become extinct.
In view of such reports and scientific studies done at different levels, many international organizations have also taken many initiatives in the direction of preventing soil erosion and making barren land fertile. These include measures such as increasing urban tree planting and strictly stopping deforestation, besides adopting organic farming and natural farming practices free of chemical fertilizers at the village level. Farmers should also take care of the health of the soil like the health of their family members.
India’s efforts for Soil Health
Efforts related to taking care of the health of the soil are being encouraged in India too. Here the Soil Health Card scheme has also been seen as a very important step taken in the direction of dealing with the problem of barren land, so the policy like ground water recharging is also related to the conservation of soil fertility. It is very important for Due to such efforts, it is possible to prevent the problems related to pollution like drought, flood, forest fire, sandstorm and dust etc. to some extent.
Globally, in the United Nations convention, member nations have also decided to improve one billion hectares of degraded land or barren land. In India, work is being done on the target of improving 26 million hectares of degraded land by the year 2030. The aim of the entire soil reclamation scheme is to continuously increase the amount of organic matter and micro-organisms in the soil. That is why a lot of emphasis is being laid on adopting zero budget farming practices or Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in India. Programs are being organized across the country to increase awareness among farmers about this method of sustainable farming.
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