Uttar Pradesh soil is losing its fertility content. Except Maharajganj, all 74 other districts of the state have reported a low level of black humus — a carbon compound vital for fertility of the soil, states official records.
The government is now looking for central funds to better the situation. A proposal, seeking a fund of Rs 10 crore under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, has been sent to the Centre for taking steps to replenish black humus level in soil.
Agriculture officials admitted that humus level in soil’s upper layer has been going down for several years now. The downfall is such that it has even crossed the minimum threshold necessary in the soil for better growth of plants. It is essential as its carbon content combines with nitrogen and enables plants to absorb it in nitrate form.
As per state government records, in 2009-10, except Lalitpur, all 71 districts had reported very low level of black humus in soil. A year later, all 72 districts reported low level of humus. In 2011-12, Maharajganj reported normal level of black humus and the situation remains the same even after four years.
Director (Agriculture) A K Vishnoi said: “Ideally, the level should be around one per cent in soil but it has decreased to nearly 0.75 per cent. Though I will not term the situation alarming, the level is quite low.”
The issue was recently raised in state Assembly with Rashtriya Lok Dal’s MLA Dalbeer Singh asking the government to take steps to controlling the decreasing level of black humus.
Vishnoi attributed it to large scale dependency on chemical fertilisers. “There is an increased use of chemical fertilisers. It has decreased the humus content in the soil,” he said. Despite this, the state has no plan to prevent its decay. Officials claimed they were trying to create awareness among farmers during symposiums so that they revert to traditional method of using green manure and cow dung.
The Rs 10-crore fund will be used under ‘Paramparik Krishi Vikas Yojana’. Districts like Jhansi, Lalitpur, Jalaun, Banda, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Mirzapur, Kannauj, Ghaziabad, Bulandshaher, Moradabad and Gorakhpur have been selected under the project. “We want to experiment first in districts where dependency on fertilisers is less,” Vishnoi said.