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NRAA: India's Soil Carbon Content Has Reduced to 0.3%

Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) content in India has fallen from 1% to 0.3% over the last seven decades, raising concerns in the agricultural industry, as per NRAA CEO Ashok Dalwai.

Kritika Madhukar
Over the past 70 years, India's soil organic carbon (SOC) content has dropped from 1% to 0.3%
Over the past 70 years, India's soil organic carbon (SOC) content has dropped from 1% to 0.3%

National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) CEO, Ashok Dalwai, told the media in Nagpur, Maharashtra, that Soil Organic Carbon is the primary aspect of organic matter in the soil and provides soil with capacity, structure, fertility, and water holding capacity. 

According to Dalwai, one such massive decrease in OSC subject matter affects soil productive capacity because microorganisms would not survive in these soil conditions.

Microorganisms play a significant role in providing plants with nutrients. He believes that intensive crop production without appropriate bioremediation of the soil is to be held responsible for the decrease in SOC subject matter, and also that growers should decrease their own dependence on chemical fertilizers.

In addition to this, he also said that chemical fertilizers and compost can help in increasing the SOC soil content. He stated that over the last seven decades, around 51% of the land in the country has been irrigated through significant, minimal, and micro-irrigation tasks, however, 51% of the cultivated area is rainfed.

In these areas, the government is implementing advanced technological micro-irrigation initiatives which will save 30 to 40% of the water. According to Dalwai, crop yields on the irrigated land average 3 tonnes per acre, whereas crop yields on rain-fed land are only 1.1 tonnes per acre.

He stated that the pulses mission introduced by the Centre has enhanced pulse yield from 16.7 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 25 million tonnes in 2021-22. Correspondingly, oilseed production has increased from 24 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 32 million tonnes this year, up from 24 million tonnes in 2016-17.

He also mentioned that the government was experimenting with sugar beets as a sugarcane alternative for the sugar industry. Sugar mills have only six months to harvest sugarcane. The emergence of sugar beet as an alternative would indeed reduce factories' dependence on sugar cane.

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