During the last three decades production of bio-fertilizers, bio-control agents and utilization of farm waste for manure and composting including vermicomposting were supported by DBT. Besides solid waste management and vermicomposting to improve the soil fertility especially in rural areas was a major area of thrust.
Recently The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) has completed Biotechnological interventions to improve soil fertility and biological health towards high crop productivity in Jalandhar and Amritsar districts of Punjab and Kaithal and Karnal in Haryana.
It benefitted more than 1100 farmers. Nutrient status of soil samples were analysed and farmers were suggested to apply customised chemical fertilisers for each soil sample.
Hundred demonstration trials in diverse range of crops including wheat, paddy, sugarcane, pulse, tomato, okra, radish, spinach, ginger, turmeric, cauliflower, chilli etc. were conducted in these two states.
The demonstration plots applied with vermicompost fortified with ABM’s (mycorrhiza, Acinetobacter, Bacillus megaterium, Pseudomonas spp.) had up to 15% increased yield compared to only chemical fertilizer plots.
The farmers have been trained to rear earthworms with the state of art hatchery set up in these two states that could help beneficiary farmers to establish and run vermicomposting units in their field. These programmes were promoted through awareness and motivation among the farming community and by organizing farmer workshops and vermin fairs from time-to-time with the aim of improving fertility and biological health of soil. The learning of the project is to move to next level of higher production scale for attracting entrepreneurs to develop into business model of vermicompost as product.
For sustainable productivity in agriculture and for increasing the farmer’s income, soil fertility is the most important criteria. Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare in close coordination with ICAR is working on improving the production and productivity improvement from agriculture sector through various interventions in agro-cropping, horticulture, hi-tech farming and allied agriculture and also through integrated farming utilizing sustainable use of soil, water, seed and fertilizers as the inputs.
Soil is one of the key factors responsible for farming for which a major emphasis is given on soil health to plan the cropping pattern on the basis of soil conditions suitable to different agro-climatic conditions. DBT’s support for organic farming as an eco-friendly measure in greener technology contributes to Biotech Based Societal Development.