In a country of over 1.2 billion people, agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy. It contributes to the overall economic growth of the country and determines the standard of living for over half of the population of India.
The state of Karnataka, an agrarian area in the southwest region where much of the state is still dependent on the monsoon season, has experienced substantial growth in food and grain production through the introduction of improved seed varieties, fertilizer applications and the implementation of irrigation practices. However, these advancements have also resulted in depletion of nutrients and a decrease in organic matter in the soil. In order to overcome these challenges, the local government has implemented measures that include soil fertility status reports and then use the results of these tests to advise growers on more sustainable crop management practices.
Karnataka’s growers face several challenges in terms of maintaining their economic viability:
- Land holdings: Nearly 80 percent of farming families own less than 2 acres of land.
- Irrigation: 70 percent of the arable land is rainfed.
- Crop technology: There is limited distribution of seeds and other primary inputs available to average growers, who find cost to be the most prohibitive factor in attaining new technology.
- Soil erosion and depletion: Large areas of land are susceptible to soil erosion from wind and water. Soils have also historically been overused and overworked, resulting in deteriorated soil health.
“The registration of Alltech Crop Science [in Karnataka] is just the beginning,” says Aman Sayed, Alltech’s director of India and South Asia, who is looking forward to giving growers in the region a natural alternative to the traditional fertilizers available.
The use of natural-based fertilizers can help increase nutrient availability in the soil and improve plant defenses to stressors, such as those caused by lack of irrigation, and help plants reach their full genetic potential.