Madhya Pradesh farmers to have public hearing on soil health

October 5th, 2010 - 6:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Indore, Oct 5 (IANS) Farmers in Bagli village of Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh will organise a public hearing on Oct 8 on the harmful impact of chemical fertilizers on soil.

Several agriculture experts, government officials, politicians and representatives of civil society are expected to attend the hearing.

The public hearing is part of the “Living Soils” campaign launched by Greenpeace India to highlight soil health and its relevance to food security.

“The hearing will review the major soil health management support systems of central government, basically to examine their capability to solve the soil degradation crisis,” said Kapil Mishra of Greenpeace India.

According to Mishra, the public hearing is significant in the context of the central government acknowledging the agrarian crisis due to soil degradation and initiating a reform in its fertilizer subsidy policy.

“But the new Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy which was brought in as part of this reform continues to support only chemical fertilizers and hence fails in its own cause,” he said.

As part of the “Living Soils” campaign, a series of social audits have been completed in selected districts of Assam and Orissa, and similar ones are now being organised in Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Karnataka.

Greenpeace says apart from the direct visible impacts, manufacture and use of chemical fertilizers also contribute significantly to emissions of greenhouse gases and thus climate change.

The total emissions from the manufacture and use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers represent six per cent (three percent each from manufacture and usage) of India’s total emissions, comparable to sectors like cement or steel industries, and to emissions from the entire road transport system.

Chemical fertilizers also contaminate drinking water and pose threat to human health.

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