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Monday, June 25, 2018 04:05:41 AM
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Rapid loss of soil fertility calls for urgent remedial actions

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ACCORDING to our scientists, rapid loss of soil fertility is posing a serious threat to the nation's food security and future plans. The fast erosion of the country's soil fertility has already turned many thousands of hectares of cultivable land barren. Crop production is suffering severely on such land. Additionally, an in-depth study conducted by the Soil Resource and Development Institute in last February revealed that the organic content in about 60 percent of country's arable area have dangerously fell below two percent - which should be five percent in ideal situation. However, under internationally accepted standards 3.4 percent organic content makes soil fertile.

To cut a long story short, the loss of organic matter content means the loss of productivity life of soil. In Bangladesh, non-stop cultivation of land over the years coupled with over-application of chemical fertilizers, removal of top soil for creating new urban centres and excessive withdrawal of ground-water are the main reasons for damaging soil fertility. Sadly, there is no authority to oversee and control rampant destruction of soil fertility in Bangladesh. Not only it is soil - authorities concerned in all areas only become mindful after a shocking disaster occurs. However, ours is a classic case of poor management of soil since we have become accustomed to take everything for granted.

From a technical perspective, soil's organic matter is stored within its top layers within a few centimeters, and it is removed with the removal of the topsoil. Organic matter deficiency hampers the entire soil system, meaning its physical, chemical and biological activities get diminished. In the study our scientists have also, recommended a series of immediate measures for the replenishment of soil.

We draw immediate attention of the agriculture authorities and those responsible for conservation of soil to take the study into serious consideration and implement the recommendations at the soonest. We have over-exploited our country's soil and now the nature is accordingly seeking revenge. It is indisputably a wakeup call for the agriculture sector. 

We are afraid continued exploitation of soil top may seriously impact food production at a time when the population growth is exponentially demanding more food to feed millions of new mouths. It is true we can't increase our landmass but we can increase crop productivity. That needs careful conservation of soil and on top of it we stop the continued erosion of soil fertility for reasons such as from salinity, drought and destruction of soil top. We must have dedicated policies for conservation of our soil.    

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