How Bengaluru can contribute to rural agriculture just by segregating


farmersindia.org

A couple of days ago, I met a campaigner for sustainable agriculture working for a global organisation that fights climate change, among other issues. She revealed a strange and depressing phenomenon unspooling in rural areas: farmland lying famished due to loss of biomass (the total mass of living matter within a given unit of environmental area or plant material, vegetation, or agricultural waste used as a fuel or energy source).

Apartments generate a lot of kitchen waste which has precious nutritional value. All it takes is segregation to make sure it remains untouched by hazardous waste.

Apartments generate a lot of kitchen waste which has precious nutritional value. All it takes is segregation to make sure it remains untouched by hazardous waste.

First of all, it was difficult for me to connect loss of biomass to places where agriculture goes on in full swing. But her studies in various states, especially Bihar, threw open bitter facts. With various modern methods exploiting technology to create utilitarian value for all kinds of biomass material, it’s come to a point where what should ideally go back to the earth reaches different destinations in different forms.

For instance, cow dung does not go back to the soil for nourishment but gets converted into dry cakes meant for fuel or gobar gas. Husk from cereals and millets gets used for fuel production, so on and so forth. Construction and home decor, especially furniture, sectors are major consumers where various kinds of biomass gets transformed into eco-friendly options.

A vicious cycle

The result: Soil enrichment through traditional methods has come to a halt! This has forced the farmers to use synthetic fertilisers in huge quantities which lack severely in some macro-nutrients and almost all micro-nutrients. If the soil is suffering due to lack of nutrition, so does the output. Pesticides get sprayed at frightening frequencies and quantities to prevent ‘pest’ attacks and consequently, the misery of the farming lot gets deeper and deeper. Finally, it all comes back to us through highly polluted and low-quality food items.

You can be an agent of change

Increasing incomes in urban areas almost regulate what is grown in rural areas. But nothing goes back. The researcher rued that a lot of biomass gets wasted in cities like Bengaluru due to landfilling. “If we find a way to convert this into quality compost and send it back to nourish the soil in a far-off land, that would complete the circle in the most meaningful way.” Her study included exploring ways of making this happen.

2

With little efforts, you can turn wet waste into loads of organic manure.

Is this just wishful thinking? Certainly not. I have heard of a few apartments in the city which compost wet waste efficiently and sell it to farmers. The latter then enrich it or turn it into vermicompost to nourish the soil.

It takes just 10-15 minutes a day: Segregate, compost both kitchen and garden waste. It can happen at both individual and community levels. When all of us start doing it, we will have a surplus of goodwill to be loaded up and sent to our rural counterparts.

Look how endlessly and beautifully all of us can contribute to the planet’s health in so many little ways!

(Pic source: farmersindia.org)

4 thoughts on “How Bengaluru can contribute to rural agriculture just by segregating

  1. ” For instance, cow dung does not go back to the soil for nourishment but gets converted into dry cakes meant for fuel or gobar gas. Husk from cereals and millets gets used for fuel production, so on and so forth.”

    But this need not prevent or even reduce soil enrichment. The ash from cow dung cakes and the slurry from the gobar gas plant can be used on the soil, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right.

      But you might know that ash and even husk gets used for scrubbing dishes in rural areas. (Soaps, too, are now common). The question is how effectively these end products go back to the soil with an aim to enrich it. Moreover, you can see the quantity getting reduced to less than 10% of the original soil-nourishing agent due to burning. Ash has its own properties but it does not do what cow dung/husk do.

      Unfortunately, traditional farming methods have gone for a toss. Thanks to government’s lop-sided, ham-handed approach, farmers get all these synthetic fertilisers and deadly cocktails of pesticides at highly subsidised rates (while certified organic pesticides come at unaffordable rates). Most farmers do not think beyond these two and they are so used to it. It will take a huge amount of awareness among the younger generation of farmers to use biomass for farming.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb website you have here but I was wondering if you knew of any discussion boards that cover
    the same topics talked about in this article? I’d really like to be a
    part of online community where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest.

    If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
    Cheers!

    Like

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