OOTY: Governor Banwarilal Purohit called upon the scientists to develop water and soil conservation technologies in tune with new era mode to help the farming community tackle climate change impacts to increase productivity as global warming posed threat to farming.
He was inaugurating the three-day National Conference on "Farmer's Friendly Soil and Water Conservation Technologies for Mitigating Climatic Change Impact" here on Thursday, organised by Soil Conservation Society of India (SCSI), New Delhi, ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Regional Centre at Ooty and TN chapter of SCSI.
He said that soil and water conservation technologies have been the major driving force for increasing agricultural productivity and development in India. Soil degradation in India is estimated to be occurring on 147 million hectares of land, including 94 million hectares on account of erosion, 16 million hectares due to acidification, 14 million hectares from flooding, nine million hectares from wind erosion, six million hectares from salinity, and seven million hectares from a combination of factors. "This is extremely serious because India supports 18 per cent of the world's human population and 15 per cent of the world's livestock population, but has only 2.40 per cent of the world's land area," the governor noted.
The hydrological behavior of water domains were getting altered due to climate change, he regretted. Water use has been growing globally. In India, water availability per capita has declined from 5,000 cubic metres per annum in 1950 to around 2,000 cubic meters now and projected to decline further, he warned.
Touching on traditional soil conservation measures, he said that integrated watershed management, which involves soil and water conservation, coupled with suitable crop management, is another excellent strategy for mitigating soil erosion.
Stating that global warming resulting in climatic change is emerging as a major problem and threatens to wipe out large populations if left uncontrolled, he said that that was way the nations of the world met at Paris in December 2015 to control carbon emissions. He hoped the Ooty conference will come out with practicable solutions.
In his keynote address, Dr R.C. Agrawal, registrar general, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority, New Delhi, called for developing better soil and water conservation technologies that are needed to sustain the gene pool of traditional crops of the nation and soil health to sustain farm productivity.