1. Home
  2. News

CSSRI Report Reveals Terrifying Increase of Salt-Affected Soils Menacing India's Agriculture

The escalating prevalence of salt-affected soils in India poses a significant threat to the nation's agricultural sustainability and economic prosperity.

Shivam Dwivedi
CSSRI Report Reveals Terrifying Increase of Salt-Affected Soils Menacing India's Agriculture (Photo Source: FAO)
CSSRI Report Reveals Terrifying Increase of Salt-Affected Soils Menacing India's Agriculture (Photo Source: FAO)

India, renowned for its agricultural prowess, faces a formidable challenge in the form of salt-affected soils (SAS). According to recent research conducted by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) affiliated Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), these soils currently span over 6.73 million hectares (mha) across the country. However, the institute's findings suggest a dire scenario, with projections indicating a potential doubling of this area by 2050.

Factors Amplifying the Crisis of Salt-Affected Soils (SAS)

The expansion of salt-affected areas is attributed to various factors. Among them, inefficient drainage systems and water-logging conditions play a significant role. Additionally, the widespread use of unsustainable management practices and the increasing reliance on poor-quality groundwater irrigation exacerbate the situation. These combined factors contribute to the projected escalation of salt-affected soils to a staggering extent of 16.2 mha by 2050.

Implications for Crop Production

The proliferation of salt-affected soils poses a grave threat to the sustainability of India's crop production system. The CSSRI estimates an annual loss of 16.84 million tonnes of crop production, translating to a staggering financial setback of Rs 23,000 crore (2015 base price). Such losses not only impact the agricultural sector but also have broader socio-economic ramifications.

The consequences of salt-affected soils are not confined to agricultural productivity alone. Globally, over 2.6 billion resource-poor peasants, constituting about 74% of the population, face threats to their livelihoods due to moderate to severe land degradation. This degradation results in an annual economic loss estimated at USD 6.3 billion, underscoring the urgency of addressing this issue.

International Efforts and Strategies

The issue of salt-affected soils extends far beyond India's borders. More than 100 countries worldwide grapple with this challenge, encompassing over 835 mha of land. Human-induced salinization and sodification affect approximately 76 mha of this land, indicating the pervasive nature of the problem on a global scale.

Recognizing the severity of the problem, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has formulated a comprehensive global strategic framework spanning from 2018 to 2030. This framework aims to address both international and national challenges posed by salt-affected soils and other forms of land degradation.

Urgent measures are needed to mitigate the expansion of these soils, safeguard crop production, and protect the livelihoods of millions dependent on agriculture. International collaboration and concerted efforts are crucial in tackling this multifaceted challenge and securing a sustainable future for agriculture worldwide.Top of Form

Take a Quiz on Green Revolution Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters