We have just a decade left to achieve the ambition to reach Zero Hunger, No Poverty, Good Health and Well-Being by 2030 as laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals. Agriculture globally faces multi-pronged challenges due to burgeoning population, degradation /deterioration of soil health, water scarcity and climate change. To feed around 10 billion in 2050, food grain production shall have to achieve proportional hike – this shall put a significant pressure on the environment.
There is now more than ever a need to increase both the quantity and quality of crop produce through optimal and efficient use of agri inputs. We now need to produce more from less to achieve our goals of feeding the world . Today, 815 million people are hungry, and every third person is malnourished, reflecting a food system out of balance. Malnutrition affects the development potential and reduces the work efficiency of the population. Accelerating efforts to address all forms of malnutrition will unlock human potential and stimulate positive change.
Looking ahead, the path to inclusive prosperity is clearly marked by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Agriculture can help achieve multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Well-nourished children can learn and develop into active energetic adults leading healthy lives. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce helping build prosperous societies. By nurturing our land and adopting sustainable agriculture practices, we can ensure that we have a healthy planet which can sustain the present as well as future generations.
Balanced crop nutrition has to be followed for producing a nutritious crop. Along with primary and secondary nutrients, micro-nutrients are also essential elements which are required in very small quantities for overall growth of plants. Inadequate supply of any of these nutrients can lead to deficiency in plants and hamper the quantity as well as quality of produce. Deficiencies in the soil are also closely associated with deficiencies in humans. We all need to keep in mind that as human we get all the nourishment that we need from the food that we eat . If the crop is deficient in certain nutrients, these deficiencies will show up in the human beings too. India needs to correct unbalanced fertilizer application on an urgent basis as it is not only impacting farm incomes but also affecting overall health of the nation. The latest FAO report , following worrisome facts are derived:-
- 194 MN Indians are malnourished
- 40% if Indian children suffer from Zn deficiency
- 3 out every 10 children are showing signs of stunting
The nature and extent of deficiencies vary based on factors such as soil type and agro-ecological situations. Nutrient deficiencies especially secondary and micro are commonly observed in intensively grown cereals, oilseeds, pulses and vegetable crops. Globally, zinc is reported to deficient in 49% of soils, making it the most prominent micronutrient deficiency in the world. Boron (B) is the next most deficient micronutrient with 31% of soils deficient in it (B). Apart from these, 15% of soils are deficient in molybdenum (Mo); 14%, in copper (Cu); 10%, in manganese (Mn); and 3%, in iron (Fe). Hence, understanding the deficiencies of various key nutrients and options to restore them becomes very important.
The response of fertilizer is declining year by year and at present, it is only 3.5 kg grain yield of using 1 kg of NPK while it was 13.5 kg in 1960. This is happening because in soil other important nutrient are becoming deficient and not supporting these nutrient roles. All these nutrients are necessary to ensure the highest crop quality and yield. India can easily overcome the deficiency of all key nutrients in the soils by allowing the commodity fertilizers such as Urea, DAP, NPK to be coated with different nutrients and supplied to farmers at market price. Every fertilizer granule carrying the right amount of nutrient and delivering it efficiently to the plant will help to reduce the deficiency of essential nutrients very quickly. It’s important to go for innovative solution which will allow proactive management of balance crop nutrition which will ensure better and quality yield.