Poor soil management will erode food security

Source– The post is based on the article “Poor soil management will erode food security” published in The Hindu on 5th December 2022.

Syllabus: GS3- India geography

Relevance– Issues related to soil conservation and management

News– The article explains the issue of soil degradation in India

What is the importance of healthy soil?

They support healthy plant growth to enhance our nutrition and water percolation to maintain groundwater level.

It helps to regulate planet climate by storing carbon.

They help to maintain a landscape that is more resilient to impacts of droughts and floods.

What are the causes behind soil degradation?

Main drivers contributing to soil degradation are industrial activities, mining, waste treatment, agriculture, fossil fuel extraction and processing and transport emissions.

Excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides, and irrigation with contaminated wastewater are also polluting soils.

What are the consequences of soil degradation? It undermines nutrition and food security globally.

It threatens agriculture productivity, biodiversity conservation, water quality and socio-economic well being of the dependent population.

Nearly 3.7 million hectares suffer from nutrient loss in soils.

What are the initiatives taken by the Indian government for soil conservation?

Government is implementing a five-pronged strategy. It includes making soil chemical free, saving soil productivity, enhancing SOM, maintaining soil moisture, mitigating soil degradation and preventing soil erosion.

Government launched the Soil Health Card scheme in 2015. It displays the soil health indicators and guides farmers.

Another initiative is the PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana to prevent soil erosion, and for rainwater harvesting and recharging of groundwater.

The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture has schemes promoting traditional indigenous practices such as organic farming and natural farming.

What are initiatives taken by FAO in India for soil conservation?

It is collaborating with the National Rainfed Area Authority and Ministry of Agriculture to develop forecasting tools using data analytics that will aid vulnerable farmers in making informed decisions on crop choices.

FAO in association with MoRD supports the DAY-NRLM Community Resources persons to increase their capacity towards supporting on-farm livelihoods for adoption of sustainable and resilient practices, organic certification and agri-nutri gardens.

In Andhra Pradesh, FAO is partnering with the state government and ICAR to support farmers in sustainable transitions to agro-ecological approaches and organic farming.

What is the way forward to reduce the soil degradation?

There is a need to strengthen the communication channels between academia, policymakers and society for identification, management and restoration of degraded soil as well as adoption of anticipatory measures.

Greater cooperation and partnerships are central to ensure the availability of knowledge, sharing of successful practices and universal access to clean and sustainable technologies.

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