Erosion of soil fertility big concern: Tomar

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday expressed concern over erosion in soil fertility due to excess use of chemical fertilisers and said the Government is taking measures to promote natural farming.
The Minister was speaking after inaugurating the National Conference on Soil Health Management for Sustainable Farming, organised by NITI Aayog.
According to an official statement, Tomar said due to chemical farming and other reasons, soil fertility is getting eroded and climate change is going to be a big concern for the country as well as the world. The Minister said lack of organic carbon in the soil is a serious concern for us. “To meet this serious challenge and for better soil health, we have to promote natural farming, which is beneficial for the environment,” he added. To promote natural farming, Tomar said the Centre is working with the State Governments.
The Government has re-adopted the Indian natural farming system for agriculture. Natural farming system is an ancient technique used by farmers for farming and at that time people also knew how to live in harmony with nature, he added.
States like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu etc. Have made many innovations to promote natural farming. (PTI)
During the last year, an additional area of 4.78 lakh hectares has been brought under natural farming in 17 states.
Tomar said the Central Government has approved the National Mission on Natural Farming as a separate scheme with an expenditure of Rs 1,584 crore.
Under the Namami Gange programme, the project of natural farming is going on along the banks of the Ganges, while the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and all Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Central and State Agricultural Universities and Colleges are making all-round efforts to promote natural farming.
Tomar said the Centre is also working through soil health cards.
In two phases, more than 22 crore Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers across the country.
Infrastructure development is also being done by the Government under the Soil Health Management Scheme, in which there is a provision to set up different types of Soil Testing Laboratories.
So far, 499 permanent Soil Testing Laboratories, 113 Mobile Soil Testing Laboratories, 8,811 Mini Soil Testing Laboratories and 2,395 Village-level Soil Testing Laboratories have been established.
Tomar said keeping soil health intact is a big challenge and added that if an attempt is made to exploit the earth contrary to the principles of nature, the consequences can be dangerous.
Today, due to chemical farming, the soil’s fertility is being eroded, the country and the world should avoid this and fulfill our environmental responsibility, he added.
In the conference, Niti Aayog’s Vice Chairman Suman Berry, Member Ramesh Chand, CEO Parameswaran Iyer and senior Advisor Neelam Patel were present. (PTI)