RANGE OF ACTIVITIES
Soil is a non-renewable and non-replicable resource. Overexploitation and inappropriate use of soil result in nutrient depletion, soil erosion and other forms of degradation. Climate change also exacerbates these effects, particularly during events of extreme weather, such as droughts or heavy rainfalls in some regions of the world.
Almost half of India’s territory (147 million hectares) is affected by land degradation caused by water and wind erosion as well as by soil salinisation and acidification due to maladapted agricultural practices or inappropriate irrigation (Source: GIZ – WOTR ProSoil project)
WOTR has been promoting sustainable land management and soil rehabilitation actions through its Watershed Area treatment measures since 1993, these include measure to improve soil health like protecting pasture land, afforestation activities along with the area treatment measures to prevent erosion, and improve soil.
Over 7,000 soil health cards issued in 2017-2018, benefitting 6,053 farmers
Issuing soil health cards and providing testing facilities under the GIZ ProSoil project started in December 2015.
150 trainings provided in the preparation of organic formulations with 3,422 people participating in them during 2017-18
Over1,090 farmers participating in Farmers Field Schools during 2017-18
Improved soil management and rehabilitation have led to quantitative improvements in soil quality
PUBLICATIONS IN FOCUS
WOTR Agri expert Madhav Gholkar, talking about the effects of watershed development on the quality of soil says “To study the effects of watershed development on the quality of the soil and changes in characteristics indicating stemming of desertification, WOTR conducted assessments on the soils of villages in and around the Sangamner cluster during 2017-18. Preliminary results of the study showed that the treated watershed had about 19% higher organic carbon than the controlled untreated watershed.
It is observed that the soil of treated watersheds has 5% less sand particles than the controlled watershed. Also, soil bulk density of treated watersheds is also lesser by 5%, which shows that the soils in the treated watershed are well-structured and have good aeration capacity.
The article points out that soil health in India is declining and that excessive usage of chemical fertilizer is a key cause of it. The author cautions that temporarily benefits of high productivity due to chemicals lead to lasting damage to the soil and the organic inputs are a better option.