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Snippet of Webinar by 2020 World Food Prize Awardee, Dr Rattan Lal

soil management

On  June 18th in a webinar "Soil Management for Food and Climate" speaker  Dr. Rattan Lal, an awardee of 2020 world food prize casts light on various aspects of soil degradation :- it's causes, effects and remedies for its management in India. He states that cost of food depends on environmental footprint like soil degradation, water pollution and depletion, poor quality, species extinction.

India is in the stage of developing country which thrusts on soil degradation indirectly by way of urbanization. According to the data around 685 million bricks are prepared everyday by scalping topmost fertile soils. In the same way, around 271000 Mg of crop residues are burnt every day leading to air pollution also deteriorating environmental health. In this scenario for increasing food production to feed the exploding population, farmers are using heavy dosages of inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation.

By 2025, India will have 7 cities of more than 10 million population and a city of 10 million requires 6000 t of food/day. So in order to address the challenges of India's agriculture one has to seek through improved management by irrigation, input application, sustainability, decreasing post harvest losses, crop diversity, recycling biowaste and so on.

soil

The first green revolution was during 1960's on input based for increasing crop yields but 21st century's green revolution must be of soil based, ecosystem based, knowledge based ,science and technology driven revolution.

Dr Lal also stressed that one should follow CNPK fertilisation rather than just NPK fertilisation. One has to balance soil Carbon depletion by carbon sequestration to increase agronomic yields. Managing soil health and soil organic matter should be  by carbon. So, he proposed Do's and dont's of Indian agriculture.

At the end of webinar, sir highlights very important method for Indian conditions. Whether one has to follow Integrated nutrient management, organic farming or natural farming? The wise answer he proposed was to follow "law of returns" which means replace what is removed by predicting changes due to anthropogenic activities and natural perturbations. In order to create positive balance in the soil the same has to put back whatever has been removed. But the technology may differ from field conditions.

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