Impending Crisis to Agriculture and why are we needed?
In earlier days farming was performed without the use of chemical fertilizers. The farmers used carbon rich manures to raise the crops and used rotational crop by understanding the soil nature without knowing the plant science nutrients of NPK. Agriculture happened with a holistic understanding of nature. Slowly with the increase in population Indian agriculture was stressed to ensure food security and then came to our rescue the first green revolution which increased farm output but at a cost. It triggered large-scale use of fertilizers and pesticides, which hurt the soil in the long run. The effectiveness of chemical fertilizers cannot be denied, we have used them to produce higher yields but Yield gains stopped years ago and yield fatigue has set in because of unsustainable farming practices. One of the major practices we have ignored is to maintain organic carbon levels in soil. We forced our soil to produce more crops by using chemical fertilizers while we provided very little organic inputs back to soil. Now this has led to us falling into an inescapable trap where our farmers have to keep increasing quantities of fertilizers every year to produce the same yield.
"What we need today is an evergreen revolution. We need to achieve land productivity gains in perpetuity without causing ecological harm.
Need of organic carbon in soil
Organic carbon influences many soil characteristics including colour, nutrient holding capacity (cation and anion exchange capacity), nutrient turnover and stability, water retention, aeration and workability. By providing a food source for micro-organisms, organic carbon can help improve soil stability by micro-organisms binding soil particles together into aggregates. These micro organisms propagate further an add value to soil fertility.
Recognizing these functions has led to farmers adding various types of Organic Manures and Microbes back to soil, but these practices are insufficient. Our soil has degraded to a level where these practices by themselves will not be sufficient. Organic Manures get consumed and microbial additions do not survive in our harsh soil for long durations. Recent research has shown BIOCHAR to be the solution to our organic carbon problem.
Problems plaguing Indian Agriculture