Macro-benefits from boron, zinc and sulfur application in Indian SAT: A step for grey to green revolution in agriculture uri icon

abstract

  • The semi-arid tropics (SAT), spread over 11.6 million km2 worldwide, is home to millions of poor people. The soils are low in fertility and degraded to varying extent. The climate is characterized by undependable rainfall, high average temperatures and water stress situations for crop growth. The SAT is densely populated and a large number of poor in this region depend on agriculture. The Green Revolution in Asia bypassed these large tracts of rainfed systems. ICRISAT is committed to improve livelihoods of millions of poor living in the SAT by undertaking agricultural research for impact in a partnership mode. The new watershed model emphasizes the management of water as an entry point for improving livelihoods through convergence of natural resource-based activities. ICRISAT's on-farm community watershed research in Asia revealed that the SAT's subsistence agricultural systems have soils depleted not only in macronutrients but also in micronutrients such as zinc and boron, and secondary nutrients like sulfur beyond the critical limits. Widespread (80-100%) deficiencies of micro and secondary nutrients were observed in farmers' fields in Andhra Pradesh, India. Substantial increase in yields by 20 to 80% due to micronutrient amendments, and a further increase by 70 to 120% due to micronutrients and adequate nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) amendments in a number of crops (maize, sorghum, mung bean, pigeon pea, castor, chickpea) in farmers' fields were observed. Besides minimizing land degradation, increased use efficiency of the inputs such as N and P fertilizers, as well as rainwater, resulted in increased profits and increased productivity. These natural resource management (NRM) interventions are integrated with improved genotypes to harness the full benefits in the watershed. The integrated genetic and natural resource management (IGNRM) approach adopted in watersheds will thus make the Grey to Green Revolution a reality

publication date

  • 2006