Love Mother Nature! Go green, make the planet green
Mother Nature is generous but we have been exploiting it since time memorial. With the worldwide growth in the population, are farmers turning away from soil, how we are going to feed those many mouths, is a puzzle. But here's a green solution for those who love Mother Nature and want to nurture it - go for Green Planet.
Story: BHARATI | PAWASKAR | 04th December 2017, 06:26 Hrs
What is Green Planet? Ask Narayan Shanbhag, who has loads of information on this system of thought that focuses on providing the solutions to feeding the people of the world without having to compromise with the environment. The sole distributor of the bio-products of Green Planet in Goa, for Shanbhag, it's a mission to save Mother Earth.
Believing in healthful living by consuming healthy, nutritious food Shanbhag's Shrinidhi Enterprise has taken the initiative to spread awareness among farmers in rural Goa who can turn our planet into a green planet by discarding chemical fertilisers or pesticides and instead use liquid bio-fertilisers to enhance the richness of the soil and make it healthy.
"Manufacturing plant nutrition, plant protection, soil treatment and vet care and health care products, our organisation has been involved deeply in the research and formulation of various types of fertilisers by using the modern tools of bio-technology," explains Shanbhag. Started with a mission - Green Planet, a company from Jalandhar, is committed to remove hidden hunger from the world, which World Health Organisation (WHO) has described as a situation that arises much attention on the micro nutrients inputs thus leading to the growing problem of nutrient deficient food as ‘hidden hunger' particularly prevalent in developing as well as under-developing countries.
How can this be achieved? "By using the modern tools of bio-technology of liquid bio-fertilisers to the soil, without paying a leading role in inorganic fertilisers," quips Shanbhag. Today, we all are aware that the need for food production is surging with the increasing population, which has led to adopting short cuts in the methods of food production. These quick profit and unhealthy options for food production have caused considerable damage to the environment and created significant health problems to people all over the world.
Pointing out that in the past two decades, the high input production systems requiring massive quantities of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, has completely disregarded the ecological integrity of the land forests and water resources. The damage cannot be sustained over generations. In the developing countries, it is estimated that more than a million people are poisoned every day and up to 20,000 die annually from agricultural chemicals. In these emerging nations, farmers spend much of their earnings on these chemical inputs, producing a cycle that leads not to more food and a better life but to continued poverty, ill health and environmental degradation.
Sustainability rests on the principal that people must meet the needs of future generations to survive. "Green Planet provides new options that enable farmers to go back to nature, by providing sound, sustainable agricultural solutions. Let's see how," says Shanbhag. He explains that one can start reversing the disastrous consequences of the chemical dependence that has gripped agriculture over these past few decades. Bio-fertilisers continuously build the soil and promote better structure as well as nourish soil life - keeping the yield same as chemical fertilisers.
But the advantage of using bio-fertilisers is, in the long run, they improve the soil structure, increase soil's ability to hold moisture and nutrients and foster soil organism growth. On the other hand, continuous usage of chemical fertilisers builds up toxicity in the soil. Green Planet conducted research in order to stabilise and suit their product to various crops, climates and soil types. How would products that were developed overseas, guarantee similar results in India, as no two soils are similar? Hence the company researched, reworked and re-engineered the products to suit Indian soil. Shanbhag cites an example, "Our products like Power Plant has been able to reduce urea dose in many areas, thereby increasing the yield manifold, bettering the taste of the produce - vegetables and fruits, making them heavier and juicy. The harvest time is also reduced."
After doing studies on growth rate, frame and foliage as well as root density, it was found that after using products of Green Planet there was 200 per cent growth rate compared to those who used chemicals. After much research work, the company ventured into agricultural products as well as veterinary products. "Producing more food with fewer resources may seem too good to be true, but the world's farmers have millions of potential partners that can help achieve that ambitious goal and those partners are microbes," mentions Shanbhag.
Stressing on the importance of soil microbes, he says that they make soil alive. Below our feet and invisible to the naked eye, tiny microbes, the real digesters of the earth, constantly break down organic material into more usable forms that plant roots can identify, absorb, and ultimately incorporate for new growth. "This material includes complex organic compounds, such as tannins, lignins, proteins, carbohydrates, cellulose, pectin etc. Healthy soil should contain no less than 10,000,000 bacteria per grain. The presence of microbes ensures that nutrients are made available to plants at a steady rate. While the plants are actively growing and requiring more nutrients, so do the microbes in the soil. As the weather warms, both the plant and the microbes respond at a similar rate. The reduction in their activity means fewer nutrients in the soil are being released to the plants. In this way, the soil can rebuild food reserves. This self-regulating cycle has occurred for millions of years as part of the wisdom of Mother Nature."
Microbes also help to stabilise the soil by physically binding soil particulars together: they release a by-product called glomalin that acts as glue, binding mineral particulars and organisms to each other. This contributes greatly to soil aggregation. All these processes happen naturally in a healthy, productive soil.
"When we feed our plants instead of our soil, we lose all the benefits that microbes contribute. When we say ‘feed the soil', it means feed the microbes in the soil, because it is the microbes that make nutrients available for the plants ," he explains.
Chemical fertilisers only feed for a shorter period of time while organic fertilisers offer continual feeding because the microbes cannot digest all of the organic fertiliser at once. With chemical fertilisers the contribution of microbes to soil aggregation is lost. Good soil aggregation leads to improvements in tilth, water retention, the rate at which water penetrates the soil, the amount of oxygen in the soil and the reduction of runoff.
Shanbhag concludes with a message to the farmers, "Be soil friendly. Remember, your soil is alive, do not treat it like dirt. Learn to work with it and nurture the natural bio-system of your soil to reap a healthy harvest."
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