Bhubaneswar, Dec 3: Agriculture experts, environmentalists and representatives of various Civil Society Organisations today expressed concern over the degradation of soil due to the chemical based farming and urged the farmers to go for organic farming.
They also urged the policy makers and the government to bring a change in policy to promote traditional crop and organic farming. Speaking at a workshop on ‘’ status of soil health and sustainability of Agriculture in Odisha ‘’ organized by GreenPeace India, Odisha ShramaJeebi Manch and Mahila Shramjeebi Manch here, Senior GreenPeace campaigner Ishteyaque Ahmed said a living soil ecosystem nurtures plants but use of chemical fertilizers disturbs the natural ecosystem and lead to degradation of soil ,poor plant growth, reduced productivity and nutrient value.
He said during the last 25 years the nutrient content of wheat has been reduced by 9 per cent, Bajra by 19 per cent and the apple by 60 to 65 per cent. The use of chemicals also polluted the river, sea and ground water sources and the air. It also adversely affected the quality of seeds. The pests have developed resistance to pesticides and reduced productivity. Eminent environmentalist Prof Radha Mohan said the use of chemicals in farming has only benefited the Chemical producing companies but not the farmers and the people.
He asked the people not to use chemical fertilizer. Mr Natabar Sarangi, a seed conservator, expressed concern over the use of top soil which feeds mankind for non –agricultural purposes like brick making and other purposes. He apprehended that the use of chemicals in farming would post a serious threat to the world . The area of deserts like Thar, Sahara and Gobi is expanding posing a threat to the environment and the world.
He said it is the responsibility of politicians, farmers, intelligentsia to protect the soil . ‘’We should not use foreign seeds and chemical fertiliser’’. Environment activist Prafulla Samantara said there should be a change in national agricultural policy. The new policy should promote organic farming and traditional crops like ragi, bajra and rice. Former Odisha Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo also pleaded for promoting traditional crop. He said the farmers should cultivate the crop which would give people good, health, keep the environment clean and should not be the cause of sorrow.
Agriculture Expert Dr R K Nayak appealed to the farmers and policy makers to take a pledge to keep the soil healthy for the future generation. He said many civilizations had been wiped out due to the misuse of soil. He said ‘’ we will also perish if we do not protect and conserve the soil . Shanti Bhoi of Mahila Shramjeebi Mancha said women were the worst affected by the chemical based farming system. She said a cost effective and sustainable solution which supports and empowers not only the farmers but all around us is the need of the hour. (UNI)