Save Soil: Sadhguru says India has destroyed its soil health in the last 45 years.
The founder of the Isha Foundation, Jagadish Vasudev, also known as Sadhguru, who launched a global ‘Save Soil Movement,’ said on Monday that India has destroyed its soil health in the last 45 years.
Sadhguru stated in an exclusive interview with ANI, ‘India has a long agricultural history as a third-world country and an Asian nation. We have successfully managed our soils for 12,000 years, so we must know what we are doing. We have only destroyed this in the last 45 years. I’m referring to tree-based agriculture, which will eventually lead to organic agriculture.’
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He advocated for farmer incentives to ease the transition from chemical farming to organic farming. He claims that a complete and immediate transition from chemical to organic farming is not possible. He emphasised the importance of a gradual transition from chemical to organic.
‘Organic is a popular topic among city dwellers because it is a word that has captured people’s attention. But, if you want to convert all lands to chemical-free agriculture right now, I believe our food production could drop to 25% of what it is now, which would be a disaster’ he said.
Sadhguru emphasised the importance of increasing soil organic content ‘As the soil improves, the use of pesticides, chemicals, and fertilisers will decrease. That’s how it should be. Not the other way around, because we dislike chemicals, we say get rid of them. If you do that, you will be unable to feed 8 billion people. You can’t do it right now without fertilisers. That is not the case with us. That is not the case with soil anywhere. If you increase your organic content to 12 to 15%, you might be able to consider increasing food output without using chemical fertiliser.’
‘But I’m not so adamantly opposed to chemical fertiliser. If you have to use it, use it a little bit. It only needs to be used in a doctored way. Because the soil is so poor, it is currently being used extensively. As an example, if you eat well and are in good health, you might take one vitamin pill. But now that you’re seriously ill, all kinds of things are being pumped into you all the time. That is the current state of a sick person and sick soil’ He stated this.
Concerned about soil health and farmer issues, the spiritual guru stated that nearly 500,000 farmers have committed suicide globally in the last 25 years.
‘I don’t know what else needs to happen if this doesn’t awaken your humanity,’ he said. In reference to the United Nations benchmark for soil health, Sadhguru stated that soils with less than 1% organic content will lead to desertification.
‘To be classified as soil, UN agencies require a minimum organic content of 3%, implying that you are providing microbial life to the soil. Otherwise, it is on its way to becoming sand. There is not a single country in the world that has an average of 3% organic content in its agricultural soils. Northern Europe has the highest, at 1.48 percent. The United States has 1.25 percent, Southern Europe has 1.1%, Africa has 0.3%, and India has 0.68 percent. Desertification is defined as less than one percent’ he said.
Sadhguru emphasised the importance of transforming the fertiliser industry and urged farmers to switch to organic farming. Also Read | Govt to fortify “Ganga river sludge” for use as fertiliser to promote organic farming.
‘We are discussing the transformation of the fertiliser industry. It is starting to happen seriously. I recently met with some of the top fertiliser companies in Davos, and they are very interested in this. They claim to have developed bio-fertilizers, but there is no market for them. It takes incentives to gain market share. It will pick up if the government provides incentives’ He elaborated.
Sadhguru launched the ‘Save Soil Movement’ in March of this year to raise awareness about the deterioration of soil health. He set out on a 100-day motorcycle journey that took him through 27 countries. The 75th day of the 100-day journey occurred on Sunday, June 5. Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended a ‘Save Soil Movement’ event at Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan.
(Inputs from ANI)