India stands on the brink of a soil crisis. According to a recent report, 120 million hectares out of 350 million hectares of the country’s soil is already classified as ‘problematic’ as it has either turned acidic, alkaline or saline. This could have a huge impact on agricultural productivity, climate change and, ultimately, human health. Mitti Bole, or Soil Speaks, is a programme launched by TFT India to support farmers nurture India’s soils back to health.
After several years of work on the ground with 2,000 farmers in the states of Haryana and Punjab, TFT India is now seeking to scale up its impact with more farmers across the country through Mitti Bole.
Encouraging the practice of agroforestry amongst the farming community as part of responsible land management is central to the project, as it is considered key to enhancing the level of carbon in organic soil and its nutrient availability. Agroforestry has been show to have a strong role in improving overall soil quality and health.
“With the help of renowned soil experts, like-minded organisations, and agriculture research institutes, Mitti Bole will work with farmers to improve the health of their nutrient-depleted soil by reducing excessive dependence on fertilisers and pesticides,” Gregoire Jacob, a member manager at TFT France explained at a recent launch event held in India.
Ramachandra Phadke, a programme officer at TFT India, continued: “The programme will educate the community at large on a rage of human-induced factors which can impact soil health such as deforestation, poor industrial waste management, overgrazing by cattle, inappropriate agricultural practices such as excessive tillage, frequent cropping, poor irrigation and water management.”
“Making agriculture more sustainable, reviving age-old practices of soil regeneration – while striking a fine balance between chemical and organic products — and changing the perception that soil is a commodity, and instead making it a central part of the agricultural conversation, are the main goals we hope to achieve with Mitti Bole,” explained Naresh Chaudhary, TFT India’s Country Manager.