No concrete action plan to address soil health crisis in budget
Prasanna Mohanty | February 28, 2011
Reacting to the budget on Monday, Greenpeace said the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has not only missed a historical opportunity to ring in a concrete policy to address the soil health crisis but also failed to respond to the aspirations of the farmers in the country.
“On one hand the finance minister has talked about deterioration in soil health due to indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and on the other hand he continues to promote chemical fertilizers. The promise from the finance minister to promote organic farming and green manuring under the national mission for sustainable agriculture offers some hope but what is needed is a concrete plan to promote alternative ecological means of soil nutrition and a shift away from chemical fertilizers, Greenpeace India campaigner Gopikrishna SR said.
Soil health should be the focus in deciding on policies related to fertilizers. Bringing urea under nutrient-based subsidy (NBS) or some other ad hoc permutations and combination with chemical fertilizers will not help solve the present agrarian crisis, he said.
An external market driven and fossil fuel dependent agriculture system is not sustainable. What is needed is support for eco-friendly, farmer and farm centric alternatives, Gopikrishna said.
“We demand that while transferring fertilizer subsidy to the farmers, the government should bring in provisions to support ecological fertilization. Also, the government should take steps in the next five year plan period to develop a holistic ecological fertilization programme and start moving funds from chemical fertilizers, he added.
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