In India, there is a lot of writing against use of fertilizers in agriculture because if their harmful effects on human body. But the fact is that fertilizers usage in India is low at less than 200kg per hectare per year, while in countries like Vietnam, South Korea and China it is about 300kg or more/ha/year. In a few countries, the usage is as much as 500kg/ha/year. In Africa the usage is very low, but larger usage is being encouraged. While fertilizers are being used in Europe and USA for several years, in India, large scale usage of fertilizers is only of recent phenomenon. Because of low consumption of fertilizers in India,the yield of various crops is low compared to developed countries.While China produces more than 500 million MT of cereals on less than 100 million ha, India produces less than 300 million MT in more than 100 million ha.
In this context, it is relevant to note that the human body is made up of oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. All these are necessary to life.Inorganic fertilizers also contain usually more or less same chemicals like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NKP) calcium, sulphur, magnesium etc.
So it is necessary to have more research on whetheruse of chemical fertilizers are really harmful to human body and if so how much or whether human body can get used to taking food grains etc. grown with the use of fertilizers. On the basis of the results of the research,
the use of fertilizers can be increased or decreased.
China’s economic development in the past 30 years has been phenomenal. It has overtaken several countries including Germany and Japan to become the world’s 2nd largest economy(GDP US$5.7 trillion). It has become the largest exporter in the world. There is discussion already,on when China would overtake USA(GDP US$ 14.6 trillion) to become the largest economy. However, it appears that China may not overtake USA in GDP, in the near future, as its development is based on weak foundation:
a. unlike in countries like India, in China, the contribution of foreign invested companies to the GDP is very high- about 40%. Foreign direct investment in China is nearly US$ 1 trillion.
b. contribution of foreign invested firms to china’s foreign trade is over 50%
c. if foreign firms withdraw, China would lose its position as the 2nd largest economy and the largest exporter. GDP growth rate would also fall substantially from the present
level of around 10%
d.China’s investment in research and development is low- about 1.5% of its GDP, compared to 3% in USA. It depends on foreign countries for technology.
e.arable land in China is limited-only about 140 million hectare(just about 15% of total area) for its population of 1350 million. USA has about 175 million hectares for a population of about 300 million.
f.agricultural land is over exploited with high input of fertilizers. Soil degradation is likely to lead to drop in agricultural production.( China has however done a good thing in leasing large areas of agricultural land in Africa.)
g. natural and man-made calamities take place more often in China than in many countries.
While the achievement of China in the last 30 years is adorable, it may also have to be noted that this has been possible because of foreign assistance, which means foreign developed countries also have contributed to the progress. Of course, the foreign countries have benefited enormously from their investments.
The per capita production of food grains (rice, wheat, coarse grains and pulses) in India is less than 200kg per year while in the world it is over300 kg. This means that India’s performance in agriculture needs to be improved vastly. In India among the various states, Tamilnadu’s performance is very poor. During 2009-10, India produced 218 million tonnes for a population of around 1180 million. The per capita production is about 185 kg per year. Tamilnadu state produced about 8.0 million tonnes for a population of about 67 million people, which works out to a per capita production of only 120kg per year.
India’s production went up from 176 million tonnes in 1990-91 to 218 million tonnes in 2009-10 which works out to about 24%increase in 20 years. This increase itself is low. But increase in Tamilnadu is very much lower at 8% from 7.4 million tonnes in 1990-91 to only 8.0 million tonnes in 2009-10.
The reasons for the slow growth in production in Tamilnadu are:
• unremunerative prices for agricultural products resulting from high cost of agricultural labour.
• insufficient water for irrigation. During rainy season, large quantity of water flows into the sea without irrigating fields, as water is released from reservoirs even though not required, for want of storage space. So the urgent need is to construct more reservoirs which could be even underground reservoirs if necessary.
• During rainy season, large quantity of water stagnates in shallow ditches. This water evaporates in 15-20 days after the rainy season. The period of stagnation is short and the depth of ditches is low and these do not permit recharge of underground water. What is required is to drain this water into nearby lakes where lakes exist nearby or to construct lakes in suitable area.
• Fertilizer use is satisfactory. In addition, there is enough manure by way of cow dung, chicken refuse, dry and green leaves etc.