How nutrient-deficient are Indian soils?



Part 1: CSE report flags poor state of organic fertilisers, biofertilisers sector in India


Most Indian soils are deficient in organic carbon and macronutrients, flagged a new report. This means that levels of organic carbon and macronutrients are either ‘very low’, ‘low’ or ‘medium’ for most soils in India, according to the report by Delhi-based environmental think-tank the Centre for Science and Environment.

More than 50 million soil samples from across India were tested during 2015-16 to 2018-19 in the government-approved laboratories to understand the state of the country’s soils. 

The State of Biofertilizers and Organic Fertilizers in India flagged poor status of soil health and increasing consumption of chemical fertilizers in India. 

About 85 per cent of the samples were found to be deficient in organic carbon; 97 per cent samples were deficient in available nitrogen; 83 per cent were deficient in phosphorus; and 71 per cent in potassium, showed the State of Biofertilizers and Organic Fertilizers in India

Soils were deficient in micronutrients as well: About 47 per cent, 39 per cent, 37 per cent and 36 per cent soil samples were deficient in boron, zinc, iron and sulphur respectively. 

How deficient are Indian soils in organic carbon, macronutrients and micronutrients?

Organic carbon deficiency is widespread across the country. At least half of the soil samples in 24 states and Union territories were deficient in organic carbon. Of them, seven states have more than 90 per cent deficient samples. Haryana’s soils are the most deficient in organic carbon, followed by those of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in that order. 

Organic carbon deficiency in soils of states and UTs

Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium deficiencies were recorded in at least half the samples in 32 states and UTs. 

As many as  27 states and UTs recorded nitrogen deficiency in over 90 per cent samples; 15 had nitrogen deficiency in almost all (99-100 per cent) of their samples. These are Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. 

Available nitrogen deficiency in soils of states and UTs

As many as 19 states and UTs have phosphorus deficiency in more than 90 per cent samples. 

Available phosphorus deficiency in soils of states and UTs

As many as eight states and UTs had potassium deficiency in over 90 per cent samples. 

Available potassium deficiency in soils of states and UTs

This is the second article in a series on India’s non-chemical fertiliser sector.

Download full CSE report State of Biofertilizers and Organic Fertilizers in India” from this weblink: https://www.cseindia.org/state-of-biofertilizers-and-organic-fertilizers-in-india-11235








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