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Das A.,ICAR Research Complex for the NEH Region | Ghosh P.K.,Indian Institute of Pulses Research
Outlook on Agriculture | Year: 2012

Because most animal food products are too expensive for the rural poor, a significant proportion of the Indian population suffers from both protein energy malnutrition and chronic energy deficiency. Statistics on food demand and fertilizer requirements highlight the dependence on foreign imports of fertilizer for food crop production. However, legume crops have a potentially important role to play in increasing indigenous nitrogen production, besides meeting human demands for protein and energy. Some legumes have the ability to solubilize otherwise unavailable phosphate by excreting organic acids from their roots, in addition to improving soil fertility. Legumes also help to restore soil organic matter and reduce pest and disease problems when used in rotation with non-leguminous crops. In the north-eastern Indian Himalaya, indigenous legumes such as rice bean, jack bean and tree bean are more nutritious than other legumes and offer major scope to restore soil fertility. This paper describes the importance of promoting legumes in the context of national food security.

Saha R.,ICAR Research Complex for the NEH Region | Saha R.,Indian Institute of Science | Ghosh P.K.,ICAR Research Complex for the NEH Region | Ghosh P.K.,Indian Institute of Pulses Research | And 4 more authors.
Outlook on Agriculture | Year: 2010

In the north-eastern regions of India, shifting cultivation is traditional and a dominant land use practice, leading to heavy soil erosion and severe degradation of biodiversity. Agroforestry systems (AFS), which have great potential for crop and livestock production, are the best alternative to overcome the adverse effects of shifting cultivation. Agroforestry is an ecologically based, natural resource management system that sustains production and benefits all those who use the land by integrating trees on farms and in the agricultural landscape. In addition to timber, fodder, fuelwood, medicines, etc, it conserves natural resources. In this paper, the authors discuss the role of promising agroforestry systems and various multipurpose trees (MPTs) in the conservation of natural resources. These systems improved soil physical health through checking soil erosion and run-off, maintained soil organic matter, enhanced soil chemical and biological properties, added nitrogen input by trees and shrubs, and helped in the mining of minerals from lower horizons by roots and their recycling through litter fall on the ground. Of the systems studied, multistoreyed AFS [alder + tea + black pepper + annual agricultural crops], silvi-horti-pastoral [alder + pineapple + fodder grasses] and natural forest systems with suitable soil conservation measures are the most viable alternatives for natural resource management and could sustain long-term soil productivity in the highly degraded soil of this region.

Das A.,ICAR Research Complex for the NEH Region | Munda G.C.,ICAR Research Complex for the NEH Region | Azad Thakur N.S.,ICAR Research Complex for the NEH Region | Lal B.,ICAR Research Complex for the NEH Region | And 7 more authors.
Outlook on Agriculture | Year: 2013

A high-altitude (> 1,500 m asl) integrated participatory watershed development programme was implemented between 2004 and 2008 in the West Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, North-Eastern Indian Himalaya. The aim was to assess and refine practices for integrating crop, fish and livestock production systems. Soil and water conservation measures, with the active participation of local inhabitants, included the construction and renovation of ponds, jalkunds (micro rainwaterharvesting structures) and bench and half-moon terraces. Impact analysis revealed that 4.3 million litres of water were harvested and enhanced potato and rice crop productivity by 30% to 40% and 45% to 50% respectively. Farmers are now able to earn net incomes of around $56.8 and $8.9 per month from community dairy units and fish ponds respectively.

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