Question-1: Excessive use of fertilizers is harming soil health and making agriculture cost-intensive. Explain benefits of green manure as alternative to chemical fertilizers.
Answer: Soil health across India is declining due to various factors. The major anthropological reason for degradation is overuse of chemical fertilizers. The era of green revolution started intensive use of fertilizers, which has continued even today.
Issues due to excessive fertilizer use
- High input cost
The average expenditure of agriculture has multiplied due to excessive input costs. Eventhough fertilizers are subsidised, they cost a significant amount.
- Decline in soil health
Soil quality is best maintained by optimal pH, organic compounds and other micronutrients levels. Overuse of fertilizer has upset the balance.
Fertilizer used in fields get washed down into river and streams during rains. This causes pollution in water bodies.
Benefits of green manure
- Increase fertility
Studies have shown that fertility of soil is increased due to use of green manure. The crop output also grows due to use of green manure.
- Eco friendly
The method of green manure is completely eco-friendly as nitrogen compounds are accumulated through natural process and not chemical reactions.
- Cost effective
The average cost of growing, harvesting and adding green manure to soil is comparatively lower than average cost of fertilizer per acre.
Thus, green manure has the ability to make our agriculture practices organic and eco-friendly. It benefits farmers as well the government, which saves precious foreign currency by reducing fertilizer imports.
Tags: GS 3 ( Agriculture)