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Rutvi Organics

A biofertiliser is a substance which contains living micro-organisms which colonise the rhizosphere or the interior of the plant and promote growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients to the host plant

India ranks second in the farming output aned employs more than 50 per cent of its workforce in farming activities earning about 17-18 per cent of the pie in the country’s GDP. The traditional organic farming practices were followed in India for centuries, but now we see greater standardisation in the same.

However, a few decades ago, while addressing the growing population, the government’s encouraging policies and industrial growth many farmers were lured into the short-sighted cultivation processes that involved using a high amount of synthetic chemicals to increase the yield. And it did pay well in the short-run, however, it declined the quality and quantity of the yield over the years and left most of the lands infertile.

According to CSE India, in 2019, India was the second highest producer and consumer of chemical fertilisers in the world. According to ICAR, the organic content of the soil has come down to 0.3 per cent which is way below the acceptable range. About 85 per cent of the samples were deficient in organic carbon. This is due to the chemicals present in the fertilisers.

However, with the changing times and increasing awareness amongst the consumers, ‘Organic’ has certainly become a buzzword in today’s market. From a luxury, it is now perceived as clean and green food. A number of food items are being sold under the organic label at a premium price.

Organic food, cultivated using organic farming techniques, is the produce that is grown with nil or minimal use of chemical fertilisers, and pesticides and in its processing no chemical, artificial colour, flavour or additive has been added. Often, they are produced using organic manures, biofertilisers and biopesticides. Coupled with the rising disposable income, an increasing number of consumers from Tier I and Tier II cities are now ready to pay a premium price for healthier organic food. Realizing the market potential, farmers also have started exploring the realm of organic farming by eschewing the use of agrochemicals.

A biofertiliser is a substance which contains living micro-organisms which colonise the rhizosphere or the interior of the plant and promote growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients to the host plant. They add nutrients and stimulate plant growth. Biofertilisers started gaining attention when farmers faced huge problems of soil infertility and poor yield.

In India, the use of biofertilisers has seen massive growth in the last 2-3 decades. The government of India has initiated several schemes and programmes through which they promote the production and use of biofertilisers and organic fertilisers. Their use completely depends on the adoption and acceptance of organic and natural farming processes or an integrated approach. An increase in the use of biofertilisers and organic fertilisers may help in reducing dependence on the chemicals, which in turn can increase soil fertility and its yield. Many state government programmes have been introduced to support organic farming.

The government is also making efforts to promote natural farming as a mass movement. Biofertilisers and organic fertilisers were brought under the regulatory purview of the Fertiliser (Inorganic, Organic or Mixed) (Control) Order (FCO), 1985, under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, in 2006.

Many farmers have now opted for integrated farming where they have started complementing their chemical fertilisers with biofertilisers in the majority. This has helped them improve yield and fertility. In 2018, India had the largest number of organic farmers in the world who constituted more than 30 per cent of the organic farmers’ workforce globally.

However, India is still in the early stages to implement organic farming practices. According to the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, about 2.78 million hectares of farmland were under organic cultivation as of March 2020. This is just 2 per cent of the 140.1 million has net sown area in the country.

According to Fortune Business Insights, the Indian biofertilisers market is expected to grow from $110.07 million in 2022 to $243.61 million by 2029, exhibiting a CAGR of 12.02% in the forecast period. The state of Sikkim converted to 100 per cent organic farming in 2016. Kerala, Mizoram, Goa, Rajasthan, and Meghalaya also intend to follow the same route. Andhra Pradesh is also promoting Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF).

Biofertilisers have been proven to have played miracles in the farming sector. It’s about time we accept that organic farming and bio-fertilisers are the game changers that will promote healthy soil and greater farming sustainability ensuring a brighter future for the farmers and the improved health of the citizens of India.

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