‘Grow Gliricidia to increase soil fertility’

June 18, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:45 am IST - VIJAYAWADA:

As agricultural production in Andhra Pradesh is being increasingly impacted by adverse weather, farmers are searching for ways to mitigate the loss. Lost in desperation, they are not realising that there is a widely available tree which enriches the soil fertility multifold with little human intervention and negligible investments.

Commonly known as ‘fencing plant’, it is known for many generations but the farming community has almost forgotten it under the belief that chemical fertilizers are a sure-shot solution to the problem poor soil quality. Scientifically known asGliricidia Sepium, these trees add valuable nutrients such nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous to the soil thereby increasing its fertility many times more than any other nutrient can do.

It is a multipurpose legume tree that increases soil productivity and yields in addition to reducing soil erosion and control pollution associated with the use of chemical fertilizers.

The biggest advantage is sustainable agricultural productivity that Gliricidia brings. Natural Organic Farmers’ Association treasurer Ch. R.K. Prasad told The Hindu that Gliricidia was a boon for farmers and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) recommends it time and again to farmers for achieving higher yields and contribute to environment but emphasis was more on use of chemical fertilizers, which was the trend in many countries.

Farm bunds

As the economy of Andhra Pradesh is heavily dependent on agriculture in the changed circumstances, the NOFA requested the government to motivate farmers and facilitate the growing of Gliricidia trees on farm bunds and borders of agricultural fields.

The results can be seen in a few months as the soil fertility goes up and no chemical fertilizer is a match to Gliricidia.

Also called ‘live fencing tree’, a Gliricidia tree grows anywhere. Farmers have to grow it to see its immense benefits as the ICRISAT had demonstrated.

The Agriculture Department is being asked to take necessary action so that the farmers can herald a potential revolution.

Commonly known as ‘fencing plant’, these trees add valuable nutrients such nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous to the soil

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