Dewas (Madhya Pradesh), Oct 13 (Calcutta Tube) Farmers in Madhya Pradesh have demanded a subsidy for practising eco-friendly measures to tackle India’s soil degradation crisis, environmental group Greenpeace India said Saturday.
The farmers held a public hearing in this Madhya Pradesh town to review the major soil health management support systems of the central government and its capability to solve the soil degradation crisis.
Several agriculture experts, government officials, politicians and representatives of civil society attended the hearing held Friday.
Ecological fertilisation includes a wide array of eco-friendly practices that nourishes soil and facilitates the natural cycles within the soil ecosystem. Use of farmyard manure, green leaf manure, biofertilisers, and compost forms part of this model.
The public hearing was part of the ‘Living Soils’ campaign launched by Greenpeace India to highlight soil health and its relevance to food security.
Kapil Mishra of Greenpeace India said the public hearing was significant in the context of the central government acknowledging the agrarian crisis due to soil degradation and initiating a reform in its fertiliser subsidy policy.
‘But the new Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) policy which was brought in as part of this reform continues to support only chemical fertilisers and hence fails in its own cause,’ he said.
As part of the 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 fertilisers also contribute significantly to emissions of greenhouse gases and thus climate change.
The total emissions from the manufacture and use of synthetic nitrogen fertilisers represent six percent (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 fertilisers also contaminate drinking water and pose threat to human health, it says.