Using natural fertilisers can boost sustainable agriculture

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
  • Updated: Jul 26, 2014 13:42 IST

Agriculture in Punjab is not only reeling under the problem of suicides by farmers, but at the same time, the excessive dependence on chemical fertilisers has become another grave concern. This is disadvantageous for farmers and also goes against the state’s objective of galvanising sustainable agriculture.

According to the agricultural experts, they have stressed several times that dependence on chemical fertilisers should be declined and if possible completely avoided. Use of natural fertilisers and farming methods should be voraciously adopted by each and every farmer, they emphasised.
Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) has also come up with two recommendations for natural fertilisers.

M Gangwar, a senior microbiologist from the department of microbiology, PAU, opined that very few farmers restore to natural ways of farming due to which they often experience low productivity accompanied with various other concerns, especially related to soil health.

“Using natural fertilisers is the need of the hour if we really want to be a part of the sustainable agriculture objective. Being the state varsity, we have been recommending-rhizobium and azotobacter-two natural fertilisers prepared biologically by our department. While rhizobium is useful for various leguminous crops, azotobacter is valuable for sugarcane and as per our lab and field experiments, they have increased the productivity of their respective crops.”

Rhizobium used for legumes could be applied by mixing the content of 250 gm of this fertiliser in 500 ml of water to prepare slurry, which is then added to 10-12 kg seeds. Then these seeds coated with the fertiliser are dried up followed by sowing on the same day. Azotobacter
For sugarcane plantation, four kg of azotobacter should be mixed with 10 kg of soil and in each pit prepared for planting the sugarcane stem should be filled with the fertiliser in small quantity.

Parampal Kaur Sahota, who heads the department of microbiology, said these methods if followed religiously could intensify the productivity and enrich soil fertility, as both biofertilisers were natural and released various nutrients and micro organisms that improved the soil health.

JS Dhiman, additional director of research, PAU, said, “The growth in agricultural production during the past three decades has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the use of chemical fertilisers, which have adverse effects on soil like depleting water holding capacity, soil fertility and soil nutrients and are cost intensive. Due to inefficient uptake of fertilisers by plants, many essential nutrients leach away from soil. The soil micro flora is also affected due to these fertilisers, which is an important component for fertility of soil and sustainable agriculture. In nutshell, it will be fruitful for farmers, if they switch to biofertilisers as recommend by PAU.”

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