Nayagarh: In a development that holds serious danger for agriculture in future, soil of over 85 per cent farmlands in this district has turned acidic due to mindless application of fertilisers by farmers. This has happened as the farmers apply fertilisers without conducting proper soil tests.
According to reports, if it goes unchecked, all the farmlands in this district may soon turn acidic. This will render the farmlands unfit for cultivation, as acidic soil prevents proper growth of crops. It has also pushed the bio-diversity in the area into danger.
The Centre has implemented the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) from the 2017-18 fiscal. The scheme aims to promote cluster-based conversion and development of conventional farms into organic farms. However, apathetic attitude of the district agricultural authorities has derailed the success of the scheme.
It is part of the Soil Health Management scheme (SHM) under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA). But due to lack of awareness and promotion, farmers are yet to reap the benefits of the scheme.
Reports said that increase in the acid content of the farmlands has led to a decline in harvesting of crops. This is also adversely impacting the environment and also the economic condition of the farmers.
Reports made available by the Agriculture department show that 907 farmers in Ranpur block and 300 farmers in Odagaon block had undertaken organic farming in 1,500 acres and 500 acres respectively in the 2017-18 fiscal.
Similarly, 440 farmers in Ranpur block and 173 farmers in Odagaon block had undertaken organic farming in 770 acres and 300 acres respectively in 2018-19. In 2019-20, 623 farmers had taken up cultivation on 100 acres in Ranpur block.
Padmanabh Prusty of Godipada said that the farmers should first conduct soil tests and then apply the necessary fertilisers in phases for good cultivation.
However, most of the farmers are not aware about soil testing. The farmers, hoping to reap more profits, are mindlessly applying chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which is not only damaging the crops, but also increasing the acid content of soils, Prusty pointed out.
Farmer Uddhav Swain of Nuagaon said that decline in cattle population has led to unavailability of cattle manure. Manure shortage can be tackled and fertility of the soil can be increased by taking up green manuring crop (Dhanicha) cultivation. However, majority of the farmers are not aware of this.
Another farmer of Daspalla, Pramod Sahu said that application of chemical fertilisers along with organic manure and vermicompost can increase the fertility of the soil and result in good harvest. However, the Agriculture department has failed to sensitise the farmers in this regard. Agriculture officials are unresponsive to the plight of the farmers and farming is still carried out following the same traditional method.
Sahu alleged that the chief district agriculture officer (CDAO) and other officers do not pick up the phone when farmers call them for any help or to seek advice related to cultivation. The Agriculture officials are not even undertaking field visits and enquiring about their problems, he added.
A scientist of the local Krishi Vigyan Kendra said that the plants fail to prepare their food from the acidic soil if it contains more nitrogen, phosphorous, potash and calcium.
When contacted, Bijay Pradhan, CDAO, said that farmers are being sensitised in this regard.